Depresion - Not Something one can beat with will power alone

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Lost Arrow

Trad climber
The North Ridge of the San Fernando
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 1, 2010 - 06:35am PT
For the last month I have been trying to beat my depression with will power alone. This is not working, I cannot sleep, I grow more fatigued each day and start thinking dark thoughs.

I have family mememeber telling me to just snap out of it. I wish it was that easy.

Its like getting up a climb without the necessary strenght to do the moves.

I had to call in sick to work as I sleept 1 hour.

Whats the next step I need to take. New Doctor. Hospital.

I am starting to give up hope.

A little compassion and suggestions would be very nice.




Juan
Paulina

Trad climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 06:44am PT
Don't give up! Go see a doctor, yes, but also - go climbing if you can at all!
Exercise and fresh air = endorphins = happier, healthier mind.

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 1, 2010 - 06:47am PT
I agree with Paulina. There is light on the other side of depression and it's not that far away.
Pate

Trad climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:14am PT
Excersise works as a temporary fix. It allows you to focus on something strenous, tires you out and produces some chemical benefits. You can't exercise forever though.

Real problems can only be addressed through hard work over a long period of time. Prepare yourself to do the work and find yourself a Dr. who will not go easy on you and force you to do it.

donini is so right. The light is closer than you think. It's all about removing the shade.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:19am PT
The above are good and what ever you do don't listen to the just snap out of it crap.

your on the right track with this post. Do you have any experience with drugs (sui's, lithium etc)?
I don't personnaly but i know freinds who do with success. The right expert advice is key - i think.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:20am PT
Exercise for sure, they also make meds for that...
ME Climb

Social climber
Behind the orange Curtain
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:33am PT
My wife has been suffering with depression for a few years. The death of her father, financial stress, changing body chemistry, dealing with an accident where a pedestrian was struck and killed, and several other things have not improved her condition. It got to the point where she became suicidal. Depression is not something you can smap out of. The people who tell you that don't understand the depth of the problem. I thought I did, but now I know I didn't have the slightest idea of how bad it is, and how the depression feeds on itself. The best analogy I can see is depression is cancer of the mind. It keeps eating away at all the good feelings and cosumes them until there is nothing left but the bad thoughts.

Her recovery began by speaking with her doctor. He recommended medication and counseling/ therapy. The meds to several months to get worked out. The first medication helped with some depression, but made her feel like she was using meth. Ultimate result was this led to increased depression. She has tried several meds until they finally got the right med and dosage. She ended up in out patient therapy and out of work for several weeks. She continues to see a counselor.

It has been a long frustrating road for us that has caused untold stress on us. She is healing and continuing to make progress. I no longer worry about what I will come home to find. She still has her bad days but not like before.

My recommendation is see a doctor, get therapy, find the right meds (if that is what is needed), stay active, make sure you don't withdraw, ask for help, and build your support system. If paying for doctors and therapy is an issue make sure you check with your local social services agency and see what resources are available.

You are not alone and help is out there. If you need anything feel free to contact me.

Eric
slevin

Trad climber
New York, NY
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:41am PT
Do whatever it takes to beat it! Go see a doctor and get medication if you think it's will help. Get laid, even if you have to pay for it. Excersize. Communicate. You can get through it and you will be as good as new once it's over!

PS. I am not a depressive kind, but I always felt that depression gotta be one of the most difficult deseases to beat. For starters, most people do even not think it's a real problem and are dismissive. In addition, even the doctors don't really know much about treating it.
Anxious Melancholy

Mountain climber
Between the Depths of Despair & Heights of Folly
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:42am PT
Juan, depression sucks, but remember that you are not alone. Being depressed and feeling alone has got to be one of the worse places to be. Both here on ST and in the real world, there are people who care, and who you can connect with. In my experience, both professional and companion understanding, compassion, and communication will help you find a path forward. My darkest day was when I fully gave in to the idea that I suffered from depression. It was if I was swallowed up in a big black hole, one with no bottom, and I found myself tumbling down into a bottomless darkness. But you know what? It also turned out to be the one of that allowed me to ultimately experience a more vibrant life. In desperation and for the first time I opened up to those that were reaching out to me, realizing that others cared, and ultimately that I can positively impact the lives of others around me. These things became more luminously and clearly important, and gave my life a hitherto unrealized anchor and relevance. We care about you, others care about you, and you have an as yet unrealized potential to experience the miraculous world around you, and positively influence those you come in contact with.
Jingy

Social climber
Nowhere
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:54am PT
Lost Arrow - Just know that you are not alone and that as long as you are alive you can change... Things will change.


Take a moment to have some wonder of life itself.

There are no secrets to overcoming your Depression. There is the will to live and if there is a spark you can get the flame going again. Step back. Take a look at the big picture.



Don't give up. The fog will lift
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:15am PT
Depression....You think your tough and can snap out off it. No way, it's like a swirling drain that keeps sucking you down further.

Get Quality medical help, Immediately.

I thought I could beat it with Spring here, but I was getting to dark. I went back on Cymbalta Monday and within 12 hours I felt like a dark veil was removed and I could deal with everything....Not much work, Bills, the world was crushing in on me and I didn't even have the energy to play guitar. I didn't realize how I bad I was, Tuesday morning my wife says " Welcome Back", scary sh#t.

Get good help stat.
Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:32am PT
When you change, modify or stop the drugs, it takes a long time for the body to get used to the change. You are going thrhough the bottom of the change. After all these years of dumping chemicals into your body to change your mood, you got to expect a long time for your body to make the change.

Tell yourself that you will end it all, but not today. Today you got too much going on thats good. You may have lost your job or had a fight with the wife, but today you still got the nice house, and the bitch ain't divorced you yet, so maybe tomorrow she will show some appreciation for what you do.

Its a hell of a lot better right now, than it was when you were a student making squat and living in a dump, eh? Did you back then think you would make it this far? Wouldn't you have been happy them, feeling like a king, had you had such a cool place to live? having so many cool people around you, willing to listen to you? So compare your situation RIGHT NOW, with what you are afraid might happen, and wait. If it eventually gets that bad, you can pull the escape lever and flush yourself. But not TODAY. TODAY is too cool.


Anfd eventually the brain will crank up the flavoroids and make itself normal again, just as soon as it flushes the damn anti-depressants out and realizes that it ain't gettin that kind anymore.


Best of luck guy, hang on. It's darkest just before the dawn of a new day.

You CAN will it out. It just takes a hell of a will and a reminder now and again. Today is the day you grit your teeth until they crack.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Green Cove slabbage BITD!
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:02am PT
People care about you. They do. Try not to lose sight of this fact.


Eric's beta is good, in that all aspects of treatment are helpful ,especially in combination with one another. 20-30 min/day of repetitive motion exercise, talk therapy, drugs for a while while things are really bad, support from your community, sunshine- the more you do these things, the better off yer gonna be.

Don't check out now. OK?
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:11am PT
Having to take drugs to level out your brain chemistry is not a moral failing, so don't feel like willpower alone should suffice. Willpower works when what you're facing is a choice, but I'm sure your condition is not of your own choosing. Go see your doctor, the sooner the better.

best wishes for you

Off
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:12am PT
Go to a Psyciatrist, and get on Anti-depressants, and take them for 4 weeks,
it will take that long for them to kick in

There is nothing else that will help, it is just your brain chemistry, not lack of will power, weekness of personality, a depressing situation, or any mental problem,

bluNgoldhornet6

Big Wall climber
Tampa, Fl
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:41am PT
Welcome Juan!!! it seems like the ST forum is overfilling with people with that suffer from depression. This may be why we all do the climbing thing after all... Anyway bro talk to a Doc and a Therapist it is the only way you will get relief.
Yeah snapping out of it is not possible, but i do understand how the other person feels and it can get frustrating. Stay positive, understand you have a serious medical condition, take the meds and ask questions. you may even find it amazing how many posts in the forum there are about us suffering from depression.
Before you go to the Doc to research on some meds like Pristique, Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta. These medications have websites that you can go to and take a sort of depression test about symptons the results may very but it is also very helpful to bring up and discuss with your doc.

Depression sux! Please take seriously.
Cheers!

Matt

You will be back on top one day. Good luck!
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:54am PT
"There is nothing else that will help, it is just your brain chemistry, not lack of will power, weekness of personality, a depressing situation, or any mental problem."

This has never been the case and still isn't.

There are many effective means of dealing with all of these issues. Meds are one, but you never get something for nothing with these.

JL
coz

Trad climber
California
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:58am PT
Hey Brother,

I not sure if I know you, probably. I have been reading and enjoying your posts. You seem like a man with some humor. But you sound lonely and in need of attention. Get off the computer and.....

1. Get a dog to take care of. Rescue one out of the pound.

2. Drag your self out of bed even if you do not feel like it.

3. Go to your Doc. Do not take this into your own hands.

4. Hang out with your friends, volunteer to be a big brother.

5. Do not focus or think only about yourself.

I love life, and I have always followed my heart and dreams, even if it wasn't the best call money wise. Sounds like you are unhappy with your life, change it. Get fit, and find a women, there are plenty for everybody.

Do this my friend and you can beat it.
Thomas

Trad climber
The Tilted World
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:06am PT
Does anyone get through depression through sheer will power?

I have always been fascinated with how different individuals deal with difficult situations.

I would appreciate hearing from folks that have worked through depression in a healthy manner, came out on the other side feeling whole, and did NOT take medication. Some folks need it, others may not.

Thanks for putting this out there. It helps me to remember a quote from Plato:

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Much respect, everyone.
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:08am PT
There are millions of people with depression that ONLY drugs can help

It is brain chemistry, and not your fault for thinking depressing thoughts, not having enough will power, or ANY thing else

Getting a dog, or making your self go climbing will not help, it may delay the depression, but it will come back, and not go away

Your brain just disposes of the serotonin too quickly, you need serotonin re uptake inhibitors
Prezwoodz

climber
Anchorage
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:11am PT
Hey Juan its true your not alone buddy but those of us on the internet are no substitute for life either. Ive suffered long bouts of depression...one seemed to last about 2 years but I didn't need any drugs because I changed my life. Thats not to say it'll work for everyone but it worked for me. Heres what I did the first time.

1. Left the internet. This seems stupid to most people I tell, I don't how much time you spend on the computer so this may not be for you but I was playing games and chatting all day long. Heck I really just moved my life to the computer and when I had problems it was on the computer I went to try and get them fixed. Only it doesn't work like that, we need real people in our life to talk to.

2. Went exploring. This included in the mountains, climbing, kung fu, and many things I still do. Some didn't work. I took many trips into the mountains alone before I realized I wanted to keep coming home. I started drawing and writing. Somehow the writing kept me grounded on the worst nights, I wrote more then ever on them.

3. Changed my relationship. I realized I wasn't happy in it and it took a long time to figure that out. It was hard, but necessary.

The second time was more difficult in many was. I was climbing, traveling and should have been enjoying life but just wasn't, plus I wanted to punch anyone who told me to "knock it off" or "it happens to everyone sometimes, its normal" I didn't give a damn about who else it happened to. It didn't help me any. The key was that I had to take those things that were causing it out of my life, many I didn't even really know I had until I started to change them. For you, I think its the pills, it seems you want to kick them and that is good if you think you are ready. But you have to remember why you are doing it as well and the worst thing you can do is be depressed at being depressed. You haven't done anything wrong, you don't deserve to be depressed but to some of us we don't always seem to have the choice. Its our will that drives us through. When were gone people may mourn, they will miss us and that will fill an emptyness but not for ourselves. We will be gone and missed the only chance we had to be happy.
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:14am PT
Here is my Depression test:

Depending on the answer, I can tell if I depressed or not,

Do I hate everything? Yes, depressed; No, not depressed

Do I hate everybody? Yes, depressed; No, not depressed

Do I care about anything? No, depressed; Yes, not depressed

Do I want to do anything? No, depressed; Yes, not depressed

Nutter

climber
Europe
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:17am PT
I've been there myself, and man, it sucks! I really feel for you.

The worst for me was the "snap out of it" crowd, I hated them and they made me feel like sh!t. Worst thing is, before my own depression, I used to be one of them myself...

For me, (a little) medication combined with counseling worked. I also started doing things I like doing more, climbing, hiking, walking in the woods. I got up from that couch, even though it was hard. I got pills that helped me fall asleep, and that was golden. Sleep, for me, was key. I still get bad days, but not like before. The most important aspect I found, regarding counseling, was that the counselor was an outsider, someone I didn't know, who didn't know me, and in a sense didn't give a sh#t about me, but took me seriously.

Take care, and remember: There is light on the other side of depression and it's not that far away
10k

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:22am PT
I have had depression for a long time (decades?) but didn't get treatment until 3 years ago. After that I had the energy and desire to change my life and do thing I wanted. I started climbing (yay), moved to a new location, and now I am going back to school. It took me a long time to go to the doctor and say that I have depression and that I wanted help, partly because of the social stigma with depression. Stigma like a person is weak if he cannot fix this on his own, and all the people who just don't understand what it means for unhappiness to be the norm.

The good news is you can get drugs prescribed directly by your primary doctor - no referral is needed in most cases. Depression is common enough that they will give you drugs to keep you from going over the edge while you also get counseling. I never liked counseling because I couldn't seem to cry to a total stranger, and that there wasn't a single thing or bunch of things that bothered me - I was just unhappy - but after a few tweaks in drugs and dosage, I can say I am much happier and feel like I can go and do things. It does take about 2 weeks for the drug to start working and if it doesn't you will usually talk to your doctor again and try another one or another dosage.

Get help. It's the only way.

Prezwoodz

climber
Anchorage
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:23am PT
Dr. F, I think it would be best if you just stopped posting in this thread since your really not helping. In fact the pretentious nature of your post is frustration and I hope that you don't actually try to help people in this manner outside of the internet.

I felt dead, didn't really care what happened. I wanted to ask my friends for help but could only do so, we are seen as weak with such a situation. I didn't really hate anything but myself, but I didn't really care either. It was a null feeling and it felt the most dangerous to my mind since I couldn't figure out what we worth hanging around for when I no longer had anything to feel? This went on for years, personally I couldn't give a crap if you labeled me or Juan as depressed. What do you know? Juan's trying to make it in life on his own will telling his brain to make what it needs to keep going and it had damn well better make it good! I think its a great idea but I think if your feeling depressed then something is missing, look real hard Juan and try to find what that is!

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:42am PT
For once, I strongly agree with Dr. F's advice: get professional help. While Largo is right (as usual) -- not all depression is the same, and not all responds to the same treatment -- depression is not something you can easily diagnose or treat yourself.

I have dealt with depression since 1994. Mine was entirely endogenous -- nothing on the outside caused it. In fact, the first symptoms manifested themselves when everything was going well. I mistakenly thought that I must be an adreneline junkie having withdrawals from risk. Not so. Mine was what Dr. F describes -- a chemical imbalance.

I've been very fortunate in that medication worked perfectly for me. Its only side effects have been vivid (and exceedingly entertaining) dreams -- and phenomenal recovery. While I was depressed, and before I got professional help, I did (or mostly failed to do) enough to cause any objective person sufficient grief to cause exogenous depression, but family, friends and professionals all helped that recovery.

As others have said, you are not alone. A great many climbers suffer from depression and don't hide it. I'm available to talk, email, or do anything else I can to help anyone who is suffering from depression, or the people who care about them.

John
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Apr 1, 2010 - 12:07pm PT
Depression is such a life sucking activity - attack it on all fronts. Yes, some beat it without drugs and some don't. The mind and body are very connected. They can spiral up or down together.

Many suggestions are very good to help with depression and are constructive anyway. Exercise and caring for another living being affects your body chemistry, and improves your life. I was amazed to see how much improvement happened to my daughter's depression as she took care of a stray animal. Taking care of my little kids helped me. You need a purpose to getting out of bed and going through the motions of life.

Surround yourself with positive people. That is the one suggestion I have that is new compared to the very good suggestions others had.

Recognizing that you are depressed, saying so out loud, and allowing people to help you are very positive steps. That one was very powerful for me, too. Suffering in silence gyps people of the opportunity to help you. SOmeday, you will be able to pay it forward.
Bronwyn

Trad climber
Not of This World
Apr 1, 2010 - 12:39pm PT
Juan, you are NOT alone. Depression is real, and it hurts. Bad.
Get to a health care provider ASAP. There is nothing wrong with using some meds to get through this. Sometimes you have to try more than one. I was good on the first one for several months,and then one day I was even worse off than before. I called my MD, she changed my scrip, and the second med (Wellbutrin) worked wonderfully. Depression meds are not a "happy pill" as some seem to think. The right one will make you feel like YOURSELF again. Get some counseling, and if finances are an issue, there are various county programs available. Some churches and synagogues also offer free secular counseling with qualified professional volunteers. Get in touch with the spiritual aspects of life. I agree with others here that having a pet to care for goes a long way to helping yourself. Talk to your friends...seek out others who understand.

I have been off of all meds for several years, but depression IS an imbalance and you have to monitor yourself. Some simple dietary changes can also affect brain chemistry, such as giving up sugar, and adding fish oil supplements to your diet. Staying away from artificial ingredients and other food additives seems to help me as well.

Please seek help. Asking for help is a sign of strength. You CANNOT "tough this out" on your own.

Please keep us posted...people's concern here is real.
Mtnmun

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
Apr 1, 2010 - 12:53pm PT
When one of my family members came down with depression and anxiety I thought they could just "buck up" and get over it. Soon I realized just how serious of an issue it can be. Reaching out for help is the first step. May you find the happy light soon.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Apr 1, 2010 - 12:54pm PT
Juan, like Jingy said ..... you are not alone and as long as you are alive things will change.

I can remember my husband Dan and I driving down the on ramp onto the freeway with our 4 kiddos. We were all packed and ready to rock for a great camping/climbing trip. Halfway down the on ramp it hit, out of nowhere.....what I call the dark hole of depression. I started falling down the dark hole. There were no holds to grab onto, no way to stop, it went from light to gray to black. I was helpless against it.

After years of dealing with this when I was in my 16 to @ 40's I noted that it eased. EVERY human being is different which is why it is so grate that there are so many different responses on your thread. You have alot of ideas and info you can now pull from.

For lynnie, psychiatrists and meds did not help or work. It was getting to meet and know my best friend jesus and getting to be better and better friends with him over the years until now he is the bestest friend that has been life changing for me. I never could have survived my husbands death two years ago as well as I did without my best friend.

I am thinking of you and praying for you and care. If you ever want to email please do so. I will listen. Peace .....lynnie
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:16pm PT
I wouldn't recommend talking to a supposed "Jesus" in your head

Since it might not be Jesus, he just says he is Jesus, it could be anyone, Or it could be your own inner voice, as any Psychologist would tell you

the guilt of finding out you weren't talking to Jesus all that time, may make you more depressed
alexander-solzhenitsyn

climber
Bend OR
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:17pm PT
A1A - try to put away thoughts and concerns, any problem solving you are doing in your mind will go better AFTER your sleep


2. your mind still holds images / sounds / scents of times when u werent so depressed

3 - a believable achievable forward vision to get u to one of these not depressed places in your future picture of things is possible

[[ A1A - sleep needs are a priority. everything becomes better after adequate sleep]


4 - prescription sleeping pills equal an expense, and can become difficult to cease
after using them for more than a short period of time

( i prefer a nasty mix of antianxietty plus sleeping pills for a knockdown just to get urgently needed sleep in ... ... trying struggle of difficulty to then go off them )

chammomile / passionflower teas = low level sleeper helper ( johns hopkins valedictorians recomendation for a mild non habit forming sleeper aid - full circle integrative, seattle )
I like very quiet space for sleeping .. so this sometimes means wearing earmuff silencers
acoustics such as waterfall or surf are helpfull

russian folk medicine component of remedy ( now accepted by western medicine ) [for extreme sleeplessness cases]
darken the sleeping area completely / non oil based black paint (so as not to be *outgassing heavier paint fumes) / black cotton sheets pillowcases and jammers

i incline towards the talk with JC suggestion ( or Hydragea , Panacea or Freyr, as u prefer )
and He represents also all of the acquired wisdom within ourselves plus intuitive reasoning power towards wat will help best

last and final - we all have onboard an point at which we will eventually tire from exhaustion then sleep .. .. it then just becomes remaining in a safe place where u may eventually sleep, rather than being out and about ... ... progressive swimming builds from 1/2 mile to one mile daily will cure most sleeplessnesses ... i prefer swimming to climbing for this ... something to do with uhh
the immersion in water does something psychologically helpfull ... prob moving to an different element than the one thats giving u sleeplessness

* environmental stuffs can also lend to poor sleep quality, looking for residues from paints and chems in the sleeping area, aldehydes in carpet glues etc ... any excessive artificial scents that might be removed or rinsed out.

good depression yes no checklist previous,
and uhh questions - when was your best ever sleep ? what preceded it ? anything you could do now to get that quaility sleep again ? comfort items - flannel sheets, heavy sleeping bag, chill tempeature in the sleeping area ? isolation from family or from urban city noises n disturbances ?are there any life stressors problems or anxietty provokers u are currently undergoing ?

hmm k ... wish i could be of more help
post up with more background detail if u like
sometimes improvements in a few of many areas that affect sleep will get u enough to tide u over .... cordials / addio - alex



Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:19pm PT
juan ive not got a coin in my pocket nor a hope in my heart.
but i can give you (1) of my (2) dreams.

hang in there buddy.
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:19pm PT
I think years of climbing is some how involved in chemically caused depression

Was there any reason to be depressed, No

Am I right?
scooter

climber
fist clamp
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:23pm PT
me and dasiy, I was so weak it was hard for me to pick her up!
me and dasiy, I was so weak it was hard for me to pick her up!
Credit: scooter
I am in total agreement with Coz. I was hurt bad a few years back and had a tough time for a bit. I did get a dog from the pound and it was the best thing for me. The MD that was taking care of me had prescribed me an anti-depressent and it did not work for me it made me cry all the time for what ever reason, and I felt out of control. So I stopped it. Started rehabing like crazy. Haveing to walk the dog made me rehab myself and made me accountable to the dog (which is funny). I also stopped slugging beers for a while, that helped too. Also the days getting longer that spring helped. I made sure to hang out in the sun. Take the steps Coz recomended. From my expirence it worked! And I still have DaisyDog my best friend. Try it take control by checking things off the Coz list. You got! The anchors are in sight! And the feeling of beating this will make you a stronger and more whole person. Go get some vibrantly colored oil pastels and acrilics sit in the sun and make a little art. Take care Brudda'. You are going to win!

Pat
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:24pm PT
Dr F is hoping there's no Jesus Christ.

When he finds out that Jesus Christ is real and actually exists he will become depressed.

He will then have to suffer so much embarrassment ......
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:27pm PT
werner,
dare i say that you're speculating?
you always get down on us when we do that.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:29pm PT
Last year, I lost my job of 3 years, found out my back was broken, had to move in with friends etc....

I never sought help, rather tried the will power approach. The depression lasted 6 months, almost cost me my relationship with the lady.

I hated everyone and everything, and never thought I was gonna make it out.

Dad told me "You will find the light my son, just don't forget what you love in the journey"

I snapped out of it. But now I can see how depression can take hold and govern your life.

I have never taken medication, to which I am happy, yet I went about treatment the wrong way.



Keep your head up and do what you think is necessary for improvement. Climbing did it for me.

I can say that you have taken the first step by talking about it, keep up the positive thoughts, and never give up.

Mucci
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:30pm PT
There "might" have been a Jesus Christ but there never was a Jesus Christ Almighty.
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:35pm PT
I guarantee Jesus Christ exists beyond all forms of mental speculations.

Jesus Christ is Saktavesa, ever liberated, nitya siddha, never falls down to the contamination of the 3 modes of material nature.

Only fools and rascals says he does not exist.

Jesus Christ exists eternally and he is proven so ......

Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:39pm PT
ok,
im happily a fool and a rascal at times.
and other times im miserably a fool and a rascal.

i can roll as such.

how does one convert opinion into fact?
just curious.
sounds like something jesus might do.
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:39pm PT
Even if there was a Jesus Christ, no one talks to him

He died, and is dead, and dead people do not talk to other humans in their heads

When you hear someone talking inside your head, it is your own inner voice

Try an experiment

ask your voice something you don't know, and it won't know either

Like everybody did for 60,000 years, is the earth round? No,
do bad spirits cause disease? Yes
Does God answer prayers? yes, the bible says so
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:40pm PT
Sleep has been mentioned several times. Melatonin is very inexpensive, same stuff your body makes, and may help you get some sleep. That helped my daughter, too. She wouldn't take any of the other meds. But a little sleep, a pet to take care of, better diet, some simplification of her schedule, a little talk therapy, and she was doing so much better. A year ago, I wondered if she would live to graduate high school. Now we are planning for college this fall.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 1, 2010 - 01:46pm PT
There may be some good advice above but I didn't have time to read. Just want to offer you some Love and Support and a couple tidbits.

1. Don't beat yourself up for being depressed. Real depression can be tough to beat so first accepting that it's a part of your life that you can live with if necessary is a huge step. Whenever it improves, that's bonus.

2. See above

3. Honor yourself. have compassion for yourself. Depression can be yourself eating yourself. We're all wacked bro. It's April fools day, the birthday of us all.

4. Pray for others. Try to make somebody else happy in some small way. Give something. It's somehow easier to be blessed by blessing than by seeking for yourself.

We're with you man

Karl
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 02:15pm PT
Juan,

Don't worry about Dr. F's anti-Jesus trolls. Just realize that you have a medical condition no different morally from any other medical condition.

Probably because so many of us feel (in contrast to think) that being helpless comes from our own decisions, we blame ourselves for our condition. That's like blaming yourself for getting, say, Lupus. There is no blame, only help.

Perhaps depression is more insidious because we often feel like there's nothing really wrong with us, and that we'll just return to our normal selves. That usually doesn't happen without a very bumpy ride, if at all.

I have no threory for why so many climbers seem to suffer from depression, but perhaps climbing affects our brain chemistry. I know in my own case, there's speculation that it's genetic; I have two first cousins who suffer from virtually the same symptoms if untreated. One is in Paris, and one in Mexico City; neither climbs. Since I've only lived in California, I doubt that ours has much of an environmental link.

Again, many of us fight the fight, and our stories differ, but I'll bet almost all of us have this in common -- we care about you, and would be delighted to do anything we can to help.

John
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 02:44pm PT
and Have fun,

and if fun for you is exposing radical delusions suffered by a large part of our society

Do IT
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 02:45pm PT
Maybe our underlying depression leads us into climbing
Mason

Trad climber
Yay Area
Apr 1, 2010 - 04:21pm PT
What about the Androgel?
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2010 - 04:40pm PT
There are millions of people with depression that ONLY drugs can help
------


Not so. In fact I don't know of anyone who will ONLY be helped by drugs, no matter how grave the depression. This is very simplistic thinking about a normally very complex condition involving past, present and future, physical, emotional, mental, social, economical, behavioral, psychological and spiritual factors.

There is every reason to want to stick with a strictly reductionalistic belief that our brain chemestry is the ONLY factor that CAUSES moods. In believeing this, you can also believe that if you only can control the biochemestry, you can likewise control the mood. This is an often disasterous and self-limiting tact that assumes a few rather glaring falacies.

If you believe that only drugs can help, this precludes you from seeking changes in lifstyle, habitual ways of thinking and feeling, ingrained response patterns, old behaviors, and so forth.

Wish I had more time but I can say that while the meds can be a life saver, usually in the short run - and often not, as well - other methods - usually requiring sweeping changes across the board - will almost always prove most effective in the end. It's very American to believe that we can "fix" a problem with a pill, and that any effort beyond that is not only unnecessary, it's catagorically ineffective.

A common situation worth mentioning can be trotted out by anyone who has regularly attened al-anon meetings. Many, many - if not the majority of people - arrive at al-anon in full crisis mode, completely cooked and feeling totally hopeless. Many can't stop crying at all. But if they stick with program and do the work, look at them a year later.

A rule of thumb worth remembering is: You will only start feeling different when you change your behavior. Thinking or analyzing things will have little to no effect on mood whatsoever. Contrary action is key here. And as Coz pointed out, a lot of it has to do with being "bound by self," or being crazy self-absorbed. That cycle also has to be broken by various means, one of which is being of service to others.

But this is VERY heavy lifting for sure.

JL
ME Climb

Social climber
Behind the orange Curtain
Apr 1, 2010 - 06:08pm PT
From my experience Largo is right on about saying meds alone won't do the job. They need therapy and counseling to work. My wife still has her "homework" and is constantly challenged by her therapist to work on issues. She must force herself out of the house when she wants to curl up into a ball. She must go shopping by herself.

What has worked for my wife is the combination of the meds and therapy. Sometimes therapy alone will work, while other times meds and therapy are the answer. Meds alone are not the answer.

The mind is so incredibly complex and we know so little about it.

Depression is such a horrible condition, but help is out there. Ask for the help and it will come.

Juan, I sent you my number call whenever you need.

Eric

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, but have many years experince with depression and know how to find resources.
Tobia

Social climber
GA
Apr 1, 2010 - 06:12pm PT
I came home from school today; a long day with 6th graders, after school faculty meeting, PTO after that.

I arrived at school in the morning in my usual anxiety heavy persona; teeth huring from the gritting. Worrying how I am going to get through the day; how I am going to hold up with my peers and not melt down from the previous day of the same as day as the day before.

I feel that collapse that Lynne eloquently described earlier as I drive home. I think about trying not to go down the chute into the duldrums of my depression.

To dark tonight to get to play outside so I come in to try to escape on the taco. I see a fellow sufferer of the same crippling disease, screaming out over the thread for some reassurance, advice or whatever response he can get to help alleviate the pain.

The people that have posted a response that can identify personally with depression offer some kind words and what helped them. That is compassion and love of your neighbor at it's best.

Clearly there are no two cases of depression that are alike; so there is no magic cure. No one formula that works. I agree with many here, you can't do it alone. I don't know about the talk therapy, I did it for years and it didn't help or maybe I was talking to the wrong people. No meds helped, as I have stated before.

I know I am going to have to start the med search again. I can't do it alone, I can't do it with prayer alone. I can't do it with the taco alone.

Some of the posts are not helping anyone. Dr. F; go find another thread. You are dangerous and twisted. Besides that you haven't a clue. I don't know what life experiences you have but whatever they are they haven't given you one iota of insight into this problem or people's faith, or the almighty.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 1, 2010 - 06:49pm PT
Might not help everyone but here's a few tips I noticed keep things brighter for some people.

Moderate levels of depression can be bearable by a lot of folks who suffer regularly but if you fall in to the dark hole, you may need professional help and maybe drugs to get back on your feet. Once you can't crawl out, reach out.

Exercise is almost always is great medicine. Try to develop the exercise habit so when you fall down a bit, it's not as hard to motivate

Caffeine exacerbates anxiety. If you do coffee, feel your energy and see if caffeine makes the feeling worse.

Sometimes you might want to crawl in a hole, and might even feel estranged in a public sterile environment, but human contact and communication can often support and nourish you, even as you might tend to shun it. Develop friends, help them when they need it and call on them to hang out when you need support.

I'm grateful for those who have been there for me when my car breaks down, when I can't handle a task by myself, and when things get out of hand. Let's look for opportunities to be there for each other

Peace

Karl
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:20pm PT
Been there done that have the damn t-shirt and matching belt to boot.

Jeff, here is my paltry tale of woe - take of it what you wish.

Depression sucks major big time balls. But you know that already. Snapping out of it can be done - but that part comes later.

First things first. Check with your HR people on what your health insurance covers in the way of mental disorders. Assuming that they do cover this, ask if your company/employer has any type of "wellness" program or "directed help" program. Assume they do for sake of discussion.

Next step - call your doctor and make an appointment ASAP. Same for your employee help program - call and set a date and time!

Third - actually GO to the damn appointments- no excuses, yes I know it sucks and you feel bad - but sack it up cowboy. This is for YOUR own damn good.

Fourth - swallow what's left of your ego (because who cares anyway right) and own up to the doc or the counselor that your life sucks, you sleep all day or not at all, you don't bathe anymore and your feet hurt. But mostly, tell the truth about how crappy your mind feels about itself.

Cinco - take the meds (I was partial to Paxil) and go to the therapy sessions. You will feel like sh#t, you will cry too much for a grown man, you will whine, bitch, moan and carry on like a baby....but....it will be okay!

Seis - keep going - it can take months.

Seite - look forward to the day when it finally hits you with crystal clarity that "JEEBUS HUMPING JEHOVAH ON A STICK - I HAVE DEPRESSION!"

Ocho - with the REAL realization that YOU are not f*#ked, it's just that YOU have a f*#ked disease - it will cease to have control over you. This is the "Snap out it" part of the recovery - you just get sick and tired of being sick and tired - so you quit being sick and tired. Make sense?

Nine - happy days and sunshine buttercups!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It Can Work!!!

Rick







Brian

climber
California
Apr 1, 2010 - 07:55pm PT
Depression runs deep in my extended family and I have to say that Largo's last post seems right on to me. Drugs can help in certain situations (perhaps in many of them), but if you rely only and simply on drugs, you are not really going to get better. The problem, and its solution, is much more complex than that. Just telling someone to 'take a pill' is not going to be helpful in the long term, or not as helpful as a more comprehensive approach, even if it can help in the short term.
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:04pm PT
Largo, wrong, wrong wrong

So you know all about it, its just in your head, you are depressed because you have depressing thoughts, you need therepy to find out whatys depressing you

You should just pull your self up by your bootstraps

What BS, that's what got poor Juan to the end of his rope, good intentions of hope, will power and hard work, it didn't work

Guess what, there is nothing depressing Juan, me, or the other millions

beleive it, its not a mental problem that can be cured by talking, inner searches, or getting the depressing thing out of ones life

Its not cured by will power, help from a friend, a new puppy, going climbing, a doctor, or lover

Its just like any other disease, its an imbalance in the brain, and it can be cured by drugs

There is a choice, balance brain chemistry with a drug that has little side effects, and makes you not depressed.

Or stay depressed and try a 1000 different things that may help you not be as depressed, but don't work

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:10pm PT
Thanks Largo. I agree.
mongrel

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:33pm PT
Lost Arrow, take heart from the many expressions of support from a lot of folks who you have not met and may never meet: that alone is cause for optimism.

But some specifics along with the generalities of most of the posts, from someone who has indeed walked some long miles in the same shoes. The most useful thing you can do short term is to do just that: take some long walks, or do some cycling. Moderate physical exercise is the single best thing for getting unstuck, however it is not magic without other follow up. It is a slow process by no matter what means, and be encouraged when there is any glimmer of light even if it is a dim and gray light at first. Talk therapy is highly recommended for a period of time. In a brief trial, I did not find that the standard prescription meds helped, and found the side effects mildly unpleasant which did not help. But meds are very good for some patients.

Best of luck and keep on it.
Brian

climber
California
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:36pm PT
Dr. F

Step 1: Re-read Largo's post.
Step 2: Blush, realizing your gross oversimplification and misrepresentation of what he said.
Step 3: Re-post a mea culpa and offer to have a reasoned discussion about the claim that "only" drugs can help.
Step 4: Go forth and reconsider your reductionistic view of human of human psychology.

Brian

PS-Juan, best of luck with your struggle which, as my other post indicates, I am fairly familiar. You should look to all possible sources of help (yes, including drugs). As someone else posted, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if (to mix metaphors) it takes the heavy lifting John mentioned to get there.
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:45pm PT
Brian, wrong wrong wrong

That was the whole point

The life style has been changed, and inner self explored, all the things Largo says, but the suffering just goes on

Largo suggests you just go on and on, trying differnet things

Why, because its too easy to reduce things to a simple explanation, that drugs may help, but maybe something else would too

thats Total BS

Thats the very problem with depression, the thought that you can just fix it by doing something, as Largo suggests

It doesn't work, and won't work

If you have done almost everything already, isn't it time to try something that has an 80% chance of success,
rather than something with a zero % chance of working, since it hasn't worked yet


John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:53pm PT
f you have done almost everything already, isn't it time to try something that has an 80% chance of success,
rather than something with a zero % chance of working, since it hasn't worked yet

Dr F.. Largo is not saying to not use drugs. He is saying that drugs are not the only recourse, and because they have a price, ie they can really mess you up as Juan has found out from the weight gain from his last med, that it then behooves you to look further into many modalities and not depend solely on drugs.

At least, that is what I think he is saying.

Brian

climber
California
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:56pm PT
Dr. F

You skipped my first step

Step 1: Re-read Largo's post.

Largo wrote

In fact I don't know of anyone who will ONLY be helped by drugs, no matter how grave the depression.

and

the meds can be a life saver, usually in the short run

and

If you believe that only drugs can help, this precludes you from seeking changes in lifstyle, habitual ways of thinking and feeling, ingrained response patterns, old behaviors, and so forth.

I think it's clear--correct me if am I wrong John--that he has said (1) drugs can be helpful, but (2) if you rely only and simply on drugs you are not getting at the whole problem.

Your reductionistc view of human psychology--correct me if I am wrong Dr. F--seems to suggest that the whole problem is chemical, and this is where you are, I believe, dead wrong.

Brian
alexander-solzhenitsyn

climber
Bend OR
Apr 1, 2010 - 08:57pm PT
siberian sleeping potion

valerian infusion - 2 parts
apple vinegar - 1 part
clear honey - 3 parts
vodka - 2 parts
hot milk - 2 parts

regular dose = one tablespoonfull of valerian infusion, 1/2 tablespoonfull of apple vinegar, 3 tablespoonfull honey, 2 tablespoonfull vodka and 2 tablespoonfull of hot (not boiled) milk, mixed well together and taken 20 minutes before going to bed.

( the valerian infusion: one teaspoonfull of valerian root to one glass of water, infused for one hour then strained. valerian is sold in drugstores [ & perhaps at the food coop, chico] in the form of a tincture - if bought there, use 10 to 20 drops. ) if sleep does not occur in one hour the dose can be repeated.

mustangs after hours / history / equivalencies to a legitimate HS diploma

John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:01pm PT
I have a question for you Dr F.

What if the meds don't work for you? I have dealt with depression my entire life. I lost count of the number of different meds and combinations I have taken over the years. Last I remember it was over 35 different meds. Some work for a very short time. Some work longer. Some don't work at all. Some make me extremely aggressive. Some make me suicidal. Most make me very sick. If there is a side affect, I probably have it.

So what would you do? Since you seem to believe that drugs are the answer.
Lost Arrow

Trad climber
The North Ridge of the San Fernando
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 1, 2010 - 09:08pm PT
Thanks for all the wonderful responses. I went to my Psychiatrist and picked up a new antidepresent to try. God I pray this brings me piece and sleep.

I will keep you posted.

JuAN

WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 09:19pm PT
oH ..

This thread is making me depressed. Juan will send me sample of the nice new drug from psychiatrist.

I will be happy then. I will be able to free solo the Nose in a day after taking the nice new miracle drug.
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:09pm PT
There is a pill that can make me a climbing god??? Woot for pills.


Juan,

I'm going to give you the shortest version that I can of what I believe can help you. Though looking down at it, I see that it is pretty long, but I am putting a whole lot of info that fits in numbers of books, so it really is the short version. haha..

First. Everything is about Truth. Lack of Truth leads to suffering. Unwillingness to follow Truth leads to suffering.

This is what I believe the Truth is.

We are spiritual beings made by and out of God's energy. ( It is more complicated then this, but I am giving you the short version )

There is a spiritual world made up of very high energy, and there are progressively lower worlds made up of progressively denser energies. We are in the material world which is currently the lowest form of energy.

All energy flows from the spiritual world to create the material world. It is stepped down gradually and there are processes that do that.

As beings made of energy, we have four bodies. The body closest to the spiritual world is our belief body, below that is our mental body. Below that is our emotional body, and below that is the densest body, the material body. Surrounding that is our Auric field, which is an energy field meant to protect us on our journeys.

So our beliefs create our thoughts. Our thoughts create our emotions, our emotions create our experience of life.

Depression is manifest from a series of untruths lodged in our belief bodies. So the only way to completely cure it is to look for all untruths. This is a process and will not occur overnight.

In the meantime you have brought depression all the way down into your material body, so you also have to deal with it on the material level. That includes seeing if meds will help, looking at your diet, looking at your lifestyle, seeing if you get adequate exercise and rest. Looking at how you respond to stress and what are the things you could do to relieve stress. And actually many more things that can help you such as ECT and light therapy in the form of sseasonal affective disorder lights which many people find helps them through the winter. These are just some of the basics.

Currently you are on meds. That is a decent place to start, but I hope that you don't stop there as sometimes meds don't work well, plus they can be hard on the body and so it behooves you to do everything you can to strengthen your general health and thus perhaps allow you to take lower doses of meds, or even get off them.

I am completely off meds. It required a lot of work and I haven't achieved a full recovery from depression, but have made a lot of progress.

So that generally covers the material world.

You also need to do something for your other bodies. You need to seek truth. Which you are doing in part here. And you need to become aware that your auric field is an energy field that can be broken down by the daily stresses of life, by malicious forces, and by our own bad habits. So you need to start working on building your energy field. One thing you can do is pray and seek help from the spirits to guide you to truth and to protect you from malicious forces.

Part of learning the truth is to learn about the negative habits you have that leave you open to malicious forces.

Then there is prayer and meditation that can help us clean up our emotion body, our mental body, and our belief body. The thing that I find works best is to concentrate on the Truth and do a mediation on it. It is amazing how messed up we can get when we concentrate on negative things. The more we think about bad things, the more stress we create, and thus the more stressed out we get. So taking a break from your daily stress is a really good thing for your well being. You might have heard of the power of positive thinking. Well there is a step beyond that and it is prayer and meditation that connects you to the spirit world and hopefully, eventually, the truth.

A workbook that I highly recommend to get you started on this process is "the course in Miracles" workbook. There is a manuscript and work book and they are two different things. The manuscript is full of teachings and personally I don't think that they are of the highest sort as the writer allowed her own lower consciousness to get in the way, and thus they are tainted by it. But the workbook is magical. It is easy to do and at the start involves about 15 minutes a day of prayer and meditation involving mantras. It helped me a lot.

You have stress in your life. It is exacerbated by focusing on it. So take a daily vacation from it. It is wonderful to take that vacation nightly just before bedtime. It will help you sleep.

If you really think it helps you to keep thinking about your problems, then realize that you need rest and you do this best when you put down your problems. So if you find it really difficult to put down your problems, then try promising yourself that you will pick up those problems the next morning, once you are rested. This is one way I have found to help me sleep and find rest. I don't always get to sleep, but I learned from experience that you can still feel rested if you don't spend the night ruminating on your problems. Surrender them nightly to God, and then relax.

I'm certain that Dr F will tell you that there is no god, so my theories are whack, but it is up to you to decide.

One last thing. I have shown you how to work on the physical and the spiritual and in part on the mental and emotional, but it can also be helpful to get counseling to help you learn how you mentally exacerbate your stress through poor thinking habits. So I also suggest finding a counselor.

I hope this helps you find your way. Depression is a hard row to hoe but there is a way out of it. I hope that you keep looking.

John
AllezAllez510

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:19pm PT
"True happiness is the expectation of being being happy."

-Virginia Woolf

Pretty sure I screwed that one up, but whatever...

As someone who has been battling depression more or less since jr. high, I can say that some days are worse than others but what has helped me A LOT recently has been meditation. I was very recently turned on to Vipassana meditation and I feel SO much better and happier now. If I had told myself five years ago that I would find some spirituality I would have slapped myself...

What the above helps me with is living in the present moment. I used to fear the future and long for the past, but those feelings are slowly, and I mean slowly fading away....It is a long and DIFFICULT journey and I'm not there yet.

Not saying becoming "spiritual" (I really hate that word...) will help you, but it helped me...

Buena suerte...
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:29pm PT
I wouldn’t say that I “know everything” about depression. Not remotely. But I have been exposed to the standard medical model my whole life, seeming that half my family are MDs, including my father and now my daughter. Plus my sister is a psychologist who deals with psychiatric and psychological challenges daily, adn I frequently talk to her about this. What’s more, a decade ago I went back to grad school (nights and weekends), strictly for my own interest, and did the whole clinical psych thing. Lastly, I’ve been involved in various incarnation of Al-Anon and “recovery” work for years, and in those groups there’s a large population who have suffered incest, physical abuse, wildly dysfunctional relationships and home environments, deadly addictions, and so forth, these being some of the common, contributing factors to depression.

That much said, I don’t look at Dr. F’s statements as anything but examples of how he processes information, as well as a cognitive style that forces him into all-or-nothing conclusions.

For example, when Dr. F. approaches matters of religion, spirituality, “God,” and so forth, the all or nothing thinking is most obvious. Since there is no God (“nothing”), according to the doctor, EVERYONE, from the beginning of time, from sage to seer to Indian chief, and ALL proponents of a power higher greater than our own brain, have been deluded and wholly mistaken. They are “all” wrong and the doctor is “all” or and entirely right in this regard. Case closed because he said so.

Now we come to the business of depression, bio-chemestry and meds, where once more, Dr. F declares that ONLY brain chemistry is a factor, and that “ALL” other modalities are “ALL” wrong and totally useless and misguided. That means that ALL psychologists, social and body workers, therapists, 12 Step programs, recovery houses, rehab centers, personal coachs, and so forth – NONE of their efforts work, or have ever worked, or ever will work, AT ALL. They too are entirely full of sh#t – ALL of them.

The main problem with an all or nothing cognitive style is that it is so transparently distorted that the vast overstatements and oversimplifications undermine the necessity of taking brain chemistry seriously. What’s more, insisting that said chemistry “produces” our experience, like a stamp produces a coin, is to fundamentally misunderstand causality as it occurs in human life. But that’s another discussion.

Trying to lick depression with chemistry alone is like trying to beat alcoholism through will power. You chances are less than average.

JL
WBraun

climber
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:38pm PT
WOW !!!

What a comeback.

One of the best I've seen in a while.
locker

Social climber
Desert
Apr 1, 2010 - 10:58pm PT

IS the BEST I've seen in a while...

Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:05pm PT
Tobia, you have been such a help to me on the "music" thread, truly awesome really ! So tho it's late and I need to get up at 4:00 am I want to run this by you.

I have this crazy theory that many suffer from angst and related problems simply because we are not doing what we were created for. Each of us have special gifts, skills and personalities that are meant for us to live our lives, making a living and being happy.

Of course life throws us problems both huge and small, but I am talking generally here. What I have observed with others and lived for many years myself is that a human gets pushed, prodded or thrown into doing something totally unsuited for them. They may even make a bad decision to pursue a life goal that is not right for them. The bad thing is they may do well at it, but it robs them of really living the life they were created for.

Then angst sets in. Some can tolerate this "wrong life infliction" for a long period and some absolutely cannot. In either case their lives and the lives of those around them suffer the effects.

I worked at a job for 20 years that I Really did not like. I did it to make someones life dreams and goals come true. Now that I have a "new" life and I am making my own choices I have never been so at peace and have real honest to goodness joy in my life. Hey, I may have to live under a bridge if I can't find a job I love......and I am trying hard....but you know what, no one is ever going to own my soul again.

My motto given to me by a climber friend that has helped me immensely...."Go confidentally in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." Thoreau

You know, Tobia, jesus is my best friend and he is always with me, but we need to learn and grow and listen and make the tough decisions to be the person ..... really be and live the person....he created us to be.

Thanks for the songs Dude that helped me process the toughest part of my life. Peace, lynnie
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:24pm PT
I have a number of friends who have been on and off several of the drugs, several times.

I've seen those meds help pull them out of the dark hole but once the darkest clouds have passed, It becomes a crap shoot whether the side effects of the drugs (and cost) are worth the questionable benefit (which seems mostly to keep you from getting deep in the hole at the expense of your clarity) Going off or on any med is tricky, risky, and rough, and no drug is without side effects, significant ones.

A common twist of the psyche that we should see within ourselves is this: When we are kids, our parents are Gods and it seems they are giving us exclusive Love. At some point, we disappoint them, or another sibling starts getting some of the love that was all ours, or our parents shatter our illusions in some way. They teach us what we need to be to earn their Love and we envision an idealized self that will earn this Love we need. We project this ideal self to the world to gain this love.

Deep down, nobody can forever live up to the lofty images we project for ourselves. We feel the fraud between who we are and the image we project and thus judge ourselves inadequate. We punish ourselves for not living up to our impossible ideals.

Give yourself and everybody else a break and know that the only normal people are the ones you don't know very well

This is just one consideration. We are spiritual, we are chemical, we are psychological. We live in a house of mirrors and Karma is a bitch.

Like climbing, Life is epic and the game is spiced by the potential for pain. The upside is evolution.

Much Love

Karl
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:25pm PT
I won't comment on that comeback only because I think depression is too dangerous an issue to risk getting sidetracked.

So many of us urge you to seek professional help because a single all-purpose solution eluded our experience and knowledge. You may be someone like me, for whom medication is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for recovery. Similarly, again for me, therapy was also a necessary but not sufficient condition for recovery. They tackle different things. The medication deals directly with my brain chemistry. The therapy gave me a "tool kit" to deal with the practical problems my years of improper brain chemistry caused (those on the Left might think I'm using the wrong tense!). And I, like Lynne, experienced the love of Christ in an amazing way. All of this, though, was just my experience.

An author of other, excellent, posts on this thread used the same medication I use (and probably will need the rest of my life) with completely unsatisfactory results. We share a passion for climbing and even, I believe, the same faith, but what worked for me was harmful to him. Most of us are experts on our own experiences. The professionals have the benefit of experience of many different people.

Again, though, the big thing to remember is that there are a great many of us who care about you (and at least in my case, about any climber dealing with depression). Before I was diagnosed and began treatment, I saw no way out, and was actually planning a convenient soloing "accident" so that my family would have the (then fairly substantial) life insurance proceeds and not really know I'd offed myself. Fortunately, I was too depressed to act on those plans. With treatment I've survived all the consequences of my depressed behavior, and come out better than before. I'm confident that you can, too.

John
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:50pm PT
For me , overcoming depression was a matter of patience, connection and light.(in that order) I won't say I'm cured, as life can cut like a knife and I'm not done with life yet...
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Apr 1, 2010 - 11:56pm PT
I'm frequently depressed, and I notice that simple things like just getting out of bed can make an instantaneous difference. Literally - I'll feel really miserable lying there - sad, hopeless, whatever - and when I stand up out of bed it's like a switch was flipped. Point being - when you're feeling like that, try just pushing yourself to make some change even if you really don't feel like it.

So does turning on some music that I really dig, getting out into some semblance of nature (doesn't need to be wilderness, just being around a bunch of "natural" things).

As others have mentioned, sleep makes a big difference for me. If I'm fatigued and feel down, taking a nap often makes me feel *much* happier.

And frequent cardio exercise makes a big difference, too.

Consider cognitive behavioral therapy.

In case your doctor didn't tell you: people often experience worse depression right after they start taking meds. Supposedly it's b/c your brain chemistry has to re-equalize.
locker

Social climber
Desert
Apr 2, 2010 - 12:18am PT

what must it be like to be born and raised in a third world country...




Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 2, 2010 - 03:18am PT
Before the meds were invented, (and after, in blind studies) a single statistic has often been quoted.


Of those given only one of the various "talk" therapies, One third got better, one third got worse, and one third stayed the same.

This ratio was the same among the people who received no talk therapy at all.

This is often used to show that the various talk therapies were of no actual benefit, except as they passed time and generated hope in the patient, while time and the passage of life created the real progress or failure of the illness.

Dr. F's argument is a common on nowadays, that depression, long term clinical depression, is purely a chemical response to seratonin and other levels in the brain. Phycologists are moving from having patients to carrying out research everywhere.




As a counter to this, some are saying that a lot of the modern antidepressants effects are largely psychosomatic and not actual long term effective.

Even Newsweek in their good article on Depression and antidepressants, titled their coverage "Do antidepressants work?", in a issue from a few weeks ago. They concluded that a lot of Docs that prescribe drugs are afraid to really discuss issues, because if a drug is working for certain people because they are expensive and create an expectation of efficacy, it would seem to be cruel to point it out, and destroy the benefits that the placebo effect is actually providing.

My own wife uses a drug for a few months or a couple years, then mores on to the next one, and is constantly on the look out for side effects. The one most ill advised and annoying from my point of view is the ugly weight gain that many experience, including apparently Juan Defuca. Are you gaining a lot if the drug that makes you happy gives you heart disease and all the rest that comes from obesity?



Very little seems certain in depression. Even in modern times, the arguments are quite controversial.
slevin

Trad climber
New York, NY
Apr 2, 2010 - 03:45am PT
There is a pill that can make me a climbing god???
Almost. It's called Anavar - little secret of pro gymnasts and figure skaters. Works for climbers too.

siberian sleeping potion
--How do Russians eat cereal in the morning?
--With vodka
--Really?!
--Yes! And without cereal!
Tobia

Social climber
GA
Apr 2, 2010 - 04:02am PT
I woke up this morning at my alloted hour only to do the "roll over" and go back to sleep.

I still have to drink my coffee and look at the taco before getting on with the day.

Wow, too much posted on this thread to process without the proper dosage of coffee and time.

Juan, I am glad you are trying another med; hope it helps!
Lynne, thanks for your words and I will get back later.

To all others. This is an interesting discussion of a problem that has plagued me since birth. Positively I have to take responsibility for not helping myself as much as I could. The concepts, other than meds and exercise written about here need to be explored.

I am interested in the workbook and the meditation.

I hope this thread continues in the direction it is going. It could lead to some help for all that suffer from this problem; not only that I am starting to believe that the time I have spent on the taco, when I should have been doing other things is looking like time well spent... )and I haven't gotten to the music thread yet to see what new music I might find).

Dr. F I wish I had of expressed my disagreement with your opinion with some other words.
Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 2, 2010 - 04:26am PT
I wonder what the percentage of the general population that considers themselves to suffer from depression? It seems a pretty high percentage of climbers consider them selves to so suffer. Perhaps this is significant? Could a larger percentage of climbers feel its effects than the general population?


My intuition would have considered a lower percentage of climbers than the general population, before I read this thread.
hunter

Trad climber
NYC
Apr 2, 2010 - 08:14am PT
Lots of wisdom here, particularly from Largo.

I'd like to point out to Dr. F and other chemical fundamentalists that few if any neuropharmacologists (and yes, I am one) believe the strict chemical imbalance hypothesis of depression any more. In fact there is a substantial amount of data to suggest that most of the SSRI's are merely active placebos (that is they do something because they feel like they are doing something). Of course even that effect is useful, but to imagine that serotonin re-uptake is the reason for some or all depressions is almost as unscientific as the belief in jesus you deride. Depression is profoundly complicated and we scientists do not understand it very well at all. What is evident is that talk therapy is as effective as drugs in the short run (less than a year) and that the combination of drugs and therapy is better than either alone. Longer term it is not clear if drugs are useful at all: the few studies that have been done on longer term anti-depressant treatment have shown that patients are more likely to be depressed if they are on the drugs for more than a year. It is also clear that exercise and social support are equally important in predicting the outcome of a depression. That is the science, the rest isn't subject to our scrutiny as yet and much of it may never be, as our present scientific model isn't well adapted to the study of our inner lives.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
Apr 2, 2010 - 08:44am PT
JL - your last post was really (from my perspective) excellent. You took a series of totalistic diatribes (from Dr. F), and brought reason and reflection back into the mix. I've really come to respect (for lack of a better term) your "appreciative agnosticism" on matters of spirituality and psychology.

And Juan, hang in there, man. You've got some great support from some pretty thoughtful and caring folks here. There are clearly quite a few who can look back at moments that seemed pretty bleak, and recognize how they got through--and are getting through. I hope their stories encourage you.

Tom Patterson
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 2, 2010 - 08:45am PT
Thanks for all the feed back, it was lovely

and of course I have something to say

Of course I don't see things as right or wrong, black or white, good-bad

That is ridiculous evaluation of me, or my comments
We will leave my concept of god to another day.


My disagreement has been all around one single point, which Largo, and the rest of you miss.

Why the depression.

There is no other reason for me, and most others to be depressed.

But we are depressed, Why???

ITS NOT about thinking depressing thoughts, its not being in a depressing situation, not climbing enough

Our life can be unbelievably great, everything is perfect, spiritually in tune with God and your self, but we are still depressed

The why for me is brain chemistry, and most others, they bring you out of it, to an extent, and you can live a normal life again

So Largo's advice to change things, get out of your self, see a therapist, blah, blah
does not help, all those things were done, 1000x times

So when you get to the point of Juan, after he has realized that his will power, pulling himself up by his bootstraps, or anything else has not helped, that he should try drugs

since its his brain chemistry, that has made him depressed

But I also suggest you should also go without the drugs, to mix things up, if you feel inclined

Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Apr 2, 2010 - 09:34am PT
Dr. Hunter wrote: "Depression is profoundly complicated and we scientists do not understand it very well at all."

Another factor with depression and other challenges that have a strong physical aspect, is that the symptomology changes a lot, meaning you're often looking at a moving target. One day it can be a sleep disorder, another day, anxiety, yet another, the blues, and so forth and so on. The reason why the strict medical model isn't especially useful for this is beause actual diseases don't present like this. For example, diabetes doesn't look like gout one day and influenza the next. So in this regards, listed to the scientist: "Pofoundly complicated."

It's my impression that understanding how causality works in human life is totally key in treating depression and other disorders like this. What's more, changing how we feel is the consequence of doing things diffrently - a little understood dynamic, and one of the reasons that talk therapy is often of little use in this. Also, the idea opf working a "program" is very useful in this regards.

JL
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 09:44am PT
Dr Hunter,
Thanks for an excellent and succinct post! :-)
Thanks to Moosie, Allez, Largo, and others.

This can't be good:
"FAA: Pilots allowed to take antidepressants on job"
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100402/ap_on_bi_ge/us_pilots_antidepressants
pa

climber
Apr 2, 2010 - 09:49am PT
What is Chemistry, then?

The term comes originally from Arabic, then was latinized to
"keme" = "value". It is the science of matter. (Wikipedia)

Odd how the science of matter is named in terms of value.
A very insubstantial term to describe our most staunch idea of density.


One asks, Why the depression?
Perhaps, it is not a "matter" of Why, but of Who...
WBraun

climber
Apr 2, 2010 - 09:57am PT
"Why the depression."

Hopelessness
nature

climber
Tucson, AZ
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:01am PT
How you doing lately, Juan?
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:04am PT
JDF,

You just do whatever it takes to feel better, talk, drugs, hugs, programs, therapy, etc.


The evil one
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:14am PT
Reilly,

Why do you say this?
This can't be good:
"FAA: Pilots allowed to take antidepressants on job"
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100402/ap_on_bi_ge/us_pilots_antidepressants

To me, that's simply the converse of the "depression is only a chemical imbalance" argument. As Dr. Hunter, Largo and others suggest, we still don't know that much about depression. My medication might merely work like an expensive placebo, but it certainly worked to get me back to (and maybe a little beyond) my pre-depressed self. Without many years of functioning at this level unmedicated, I wouldn't trust myself in any responsible position without proper medication. I, and those around me, have complete confidence in my performance now, however.

I think the thrust of the FAA reg change is to allow those whose depression is demonstrably under control to fly. Otherwise, the de facto rule would be that no one may pilot who suffers from depression. That would exlude a lot of extremely capable people.

John
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:20am PT
John,
Since my knowledge of such is strictly anecdotal I supposed it
based on hearing how people aren't necessarily at their
sharpest when on anti-depressants. That wouldn't matter in most
professions. The FAA also has a time-honored tradition of
questionable decisions.
alexander-solzhenitsyn

climber
Bend OR
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:21am PT
I am big on excluding the depressing items from my life, as many as possible, this solution works very well for me.

then increasing the anti depressant things in my life
time on the mtn, time on the rink, laps in the pool, #s of favorite songs on the cassette collection, posters and decoration on the wall, hours a week spent with ppl whom arent [ozz boys pastime] and [anatomy]

I am also ok going through times of depression, my feeling is that there are many things in life that warrant being depressed from time to time

that this depression is a natural part of being alive, that it balances times of being quite happy
thereby not necessarily something to treat as an imbalance

* try a change in environment to see if anything changes
jstan

climber
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:21am PT
Where is the data supporting the assertion abnormally large numbers of climbers suffer from depression? Since the condition itself is not easily defined, there will have to be some solid data.

"And as Coz pointed out, a lot of it has to do with being "bound by self," or being crazy self-absorbed. That cycle also has to be broken by various means, one of which is being of service to others."

I have to say I get depressed on those weeks when I take the time to stare at my navel 24x7.

I have found choosing goals and then going all out for them leaves one little good navel gazing time. And then if one never forgets that quitting easily becomes a habit, depression becomes simply a waste of otherwise useful time.
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:23am PT
JE, at least we can agree on some things
Thanks
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:34am PT
jstan,

I'd suggested the possibility (as opposed to asserting its existence) that the populations of climbers contains a higher proportion of people with depression. I think that was on a different thread, though.

The mental health professionals with whom I've dealt all say that lawyers have an abnormally high rate of depression. I know more lawyers than climbers (how's that for a really damning admission?) but I know more climbers who've committed suicide than lawyers who have done so. I based my conjecture on that observation.

John
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Peenemunde
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:40am PT
So I am a bit concerned. Do Antidepresives work?

Am I fighting a losing battle?

I really trying to hang in. But its not easy.

Juan

Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:45am PT
Studies have shown stress can be a factor of causing depression

Maybe the daily mental stress of climbing, being sketched out on a lead, long belays in the cold, the exhausting march to the top after a long day of slaving on a route, the devious descent, miles of boulder strewn talus fields that must be traversed

Climbing is very stressful a stress we happily volunteer for

My depression became severe after writing my first guidebook, the endless late lights working on it, the deadlines, the lose ends, maybe it was too much, along with my 40 hour a week job
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:52am PT
Juan,

they work, they are not a placebo

The problem with them, like depression, is expressing it in terms that the non-depressed can comprehend

When you are not depressed from taking them, you can't say if they are working or not, since you aren't depressed, or maybe you are still a little depresesd

Its hard to tell if they are working or not
after saying that

I really think you should try them

There is one major problem with them, and this is were so much confusion lies

They may make you MORE depressed for awhile, the first 4-6 weeks are tough, thats when the teenagers commit suicide, They think "it should be working, but its not, I'm just getting worse, there is no hope, I might as well kill myself"

You have to give them time to build up in your system
drunkenmaster

Social climber
santa rosa
Apr 2, 2010 - 10:55am PT
just heard on the "news" that it is now legal to fly a plane on anti depressants - not sure what to think about this??
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 11:29am PT
JDF,

I'm not saying that antidepressants always work. I'm saying that professional help almost always makes things better, and I'm quite certain it will help you.

I might as well tell my full story, because I hope that if you see how low depression took me, and therefore how far I've recovered, you'll see that what looks hopeless is not so.

Since 1991, I've had the highest legal peer-reviewed rating (Martindale-Hubbell "AV") and through the 1990's, at least, had a very admired, successful and lucrative law practice. Although I had momentary bouts of depression since at least 1994, they always went away on their own, so I didn't think I had a medical condition.

That changed in about 2002. Gradually, over the next few years, I grew unable to accomplish even the simplest of tasks at work without monumental effort. In addition, I slowly stopped climbing (a sure sign of illness!), playing the piano, cycling, and just about everything else that I formerly enjoyed. In addition, by then, my wife said I'd become very withdrawn. I slept inordinately. Both my wife and my secretary worried that I was suffering from depression, but I blew them off. I thought that I'd just snap out of it, and anything that was behind in the office would be cured by a couple of extra Saturdays of work.

I was wrong. Finally, in 2005, one client for whom I started litigation, but then stalled, had enough. She said she was coming to my office to see the results of the litigation I'd promised her. I knew it would take her about 45 minutes to get there. Desperate not to be confronted with my inaction, I made up a pleading, and even faked a court order. That latter act was one of forgery and counterfeiting under federal law, and something no sane lawyer would do. I gave her the "order," hoping to shut her up long enough for me to do my job.

Well, the good news was that the immorality of my action really did wake me up. Within a few minutes of her leaving my office, I was so appalled with what I'd done (or to my way of thinking, what I'd become -- a liar) that I immediately sought professional help. A few days later, I went to the court to tell them what happened. Unbeknownst to me, my client was already there, and the court clerk suspected what I'd done before I fessed up. My client had also already gone to the FBI, and my legal goose was cooked.

By then, though, I was hooked up with a physician and a psychologist, each of whom shared my Christian faith. I got good medication and good therapy. I also hooked up with a group of lawyers dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues (although the latter has never been an issue for me, the two often go hand-in-hand. Probably a form of self-medication.)

Talk about an inopportune time to regain my sanity! I saw in my immediate future at least the following: (1) the end of my career; (2) the destruction of my reputation; (3) abject poverty; and (4) no discernable way out. In fact, reality was worse in all respects except no. (4).

My wife had not worked outside our home or my office for almost 20 years, and had let her nursing license lapse. I knew my law license wouldn't remain for long, and I had already decided that I could not take any more new clients, and that I needed to refer all of my existing ones out so that I could end my practice. Unfortunately, our debts still remained. I had to file personal bankruptcy. I resigned from the Bar. I was indicted for forgery, pled guilty, and was sentenced to six months in federal prison. Had I known all this when I first went for help, i certainly would have seen no way out.

Nonetheless, several amazing things started happening then. First and foremost, friends started coming out of the woodwork. Virtually all of the legal community lined up to help me. My church rallied around us. My family did the same. Instead of rejecting me, they came to me. It was like being at my own funeral, and hearing all those nice things people say about you. Perhaps as importantly, they all knew that something had been wrong with me, and were delighted that I was finally doing something about it. Although I cannot excuse my dishonesty, everyone I care about has foregiven that dishonesty.

As my mental ability returned, so did my business opportunities. I had been, in addition to an attorney, an econometrician since 1973. My old roommate from college needed econometric help, and came to me. We're still working together. In addition, after serving my sentence (which I treated like a vacation, but that's another story), two lawyers I'd trained 20 years before hired me to be a sort of in-house scholar. The combination of these two jobs, plus my wife rejoining the nursing profession, is providing sufficient income. More importantly I am the happiest I have been in decades. Even though I'm 58 and had to start over at age 56 when I got out of prison, I see a good future for us.

I hope you conclude that whatever is in your future, it can't be much worse (and, I hope, it is much less worse) than what I went through. We all can help. You're not facing a hopeless battle.

Unfortunately for my comments, but fortunately for my wallet, I need to do some paying work now, but email me if you need someone who's been through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but now fears no evil. That offer stands, by the way, for anyone dealing with depression.

John
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 2, 2010 - 11:52am PT
Wow, quite a story John. It seems there are a lot of these tales of woe on this thread. I won't tell my tale, because it pales in comparison to some on here, but it is fairly common and treatable, but each lesson is definitely unique and requires a unique approach. I'm not the first to say it. Let go, be patient and take help in whatever form it comes, and it comes in strange forms. Some folks need to get pretty dark before they can accept the light.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 2, 2010 - 12:32pm PT
My hat is off to John for the above post. You're the man. Way to live.

A5 aid climbers, I can't see doing that if you aren't depressed, but I guess some like it anyway.

Depressed or not, we're all struggling for meaning and satisfaction in life. We have to give heartfelt contemplation on where fulfillment comes from to find the path to wholeness.

Sometimes the depressed people have a leg up on that, because they know they aren't happy, others are just sleeping

Peace

Karl
Jengi

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 12:41pm PT
I am touched by all the caring encouragement posted to this topic... a great bunch of folks!

Juan, if you are in a place where you need to do something now, call your doctor - or the suicide prevention hotline - now.

Tell them you think you are depressed, that you are having dark thoughts, and that you need help. They will evaluate your situation and provide referrals and/or drugs.

USA National Suicide Hotlines
Toll-Free / 24 hours / 7 days a week

1-800-SUICIDE
1-800-784-2433

1-800-273-TALK
1-800-273-8255
TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

http://suicidehotlines.com/california.html

Come back to this forum when you need encouragement. Contact those that have offered and if possible speak to them.

One step at a time, Buddy!
WBraun

climber
Apr 2, 2010 - 12:45pm PT
Huh?

You don't think for a moment that JuanDeFuca doesn't know all this sh'it!

He's a real smart guy who knows the art of trolling ......
Jingy

Social climber
Nowhere
Apr 2, 2010 - 12:49pm PT
Alex has a good point...
"2. your mind still holds images / sounds / scents of times when u werent so depressed

3 - a believable achievable forward vision to get u to one of these not depressed places in your future picture of things is possible


This is the exact method I use when I get struck by the fog of depression..

I have a memory of a time when I was not in the fog.. that thought is usually enough to keep me going...

Just know that you will make it through.. in your own due time... it may be difficult, and a huge struggle.. but it's possible to make it through without thoughst of JC (which ultimately is your own inner voice assuming the possition of JC) or with presciption drugs (which is a nice way of putting off until tomorrow when can be cured today....) I don't think that paying a big drug company for your personal "happy thoughts" is the way to go, but that's just me. Like Alex says...its an expense that I cannot afford.


SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 2, 2010 - 01:01pm PT

JDF
I'm truly sorry to hear the experiences you've been having.
It's not fun. I know. Like John above, I experienced a couple of
bad periods in my life. Almost to suicide the first time, but fortunately
got help--both psychological and medical. Twenty years later my
mother died, and my fiance dumped me almost simultaneously.
I didn't want to die, but I wished I were dead. But I was already
in counseling and had a good doctor. I was ready to check myself
into the hospital for it, but managed to get enough help and not
have to. I really feared that. But the meds are a strange thing.
I've been on quite a few of them, and it takes time to find the
correct one and the right dosage of it also. Sometimes the side-effects
really suck too.
But I urge you to get professional help--those guys know what they
are doing, but if you aren't happy with a doctor, get another one.
With counseling and finding the right medication you can get the
spring back into your step and the joy of life.

I hope you'll get the help and work things out.
My very best wishes to you.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 2, 2010 - 01:16pm PT
Whether or not Juan/Jeff/LA is trolling, this seems to have been a useful discussion for many. I don't have any personal or family experience with this affliction, but think it's quite likely that some relative or friend has had depression, even if transient and not apparent to others. Noting that Canadians tend to be more reticent about discussing such personal matters with family and friends, let alone others.

One lesson seems to be that these sorts of things may be more prevalent than might be thought, aren't all that well understood, and that there's nothing "wrong" with having depression, or seeking treatment. Another seems to be that there are a variety of treatments that may help, but many are external. Some may be able to pull themselves up by their soulstraps, but not many. And that the treatments may include time, exercise, volunteering, community and commitments to others (family, friends, climbing community...), informal or formal therapy (friends/family/colleagues, minister, psychologist...), religion, philosophy, and drugs.

And the real lesson is that there's nothing wrong with seeking help, or at least finding out if there's reason for you to seek help.

If there objectively is an increasing prevalence of such afflictions, then you have to wonder about the values of our society. Shallow materialism doesn't correlate well with happiness, and there's some evidence that once people are reasonably comfortable in the material sense (per capita income about half of the US), they don't get happier with more money.
Flaccid

Gym climber
U.S. of fukkin' A
Apr 2, 2010 - 01:19pm PT
MY GOD ALL YOU GUYS ARE NUCKING FUTZ!
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Apr 2, 2010 - 01:25pm PT
something a little off topic, but in reference to the nebulous nature of symptoms....

I know someone who was diagnosed and began treatment for depression and it turned out to be an abdominal cancer. I kid you not. And apparently this is not entirely uncommon as there are some crossover symptoms and if physiological tests come up negative, the MD may start looking elsewhere - hopefully not down the proverbial garden path.

Anyway, strange but true.
Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 2, 2010 - 01:49pm PT
Jesus John. What a incredible story. Gutsy revelations. Not to steal from JDF's thread, but your post takes the cake.

Glad to hear it worked out as good as it did, if you can call anything about that tale good.

I will never again give you any sh#t, if I ever did.
LEB

climber
PA
Apr 2, 2010 - 05:11pm PT
That's quite a story, John (EL) and it took a lot of guts to share it. Depression can do very profound things to persons. Then, of course, we all have our moments of temporary insanity - all of us. It is just a shame that you had to pay such a high price for yours. Seems to me that, in your case, the punishment was out of proportion to the crime. A two year suspension without the prison time would seem more appropriate to me. That is sort of what we do in my field for a first offense. I am not sure why they went so overboard with you. Seems out of line to me.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 2, 2010 - 05:21pm PT
Thanks for the kind words. I posted my story to let others know there's hope when there appears to be none, but also to let others who feel like the universe is closing in on them know that they can contact me anytime and will reach someone who understands.

John
Anxious Melancholy

Mountain climber
Between the Depths of Despair & Heights of Folly
Apr 2, 2010 - 05:37pm PT
WB, this might have started as a fools quest, but a majority of responses here, yours included, are constructive. For me personally, they have helped me take another step forward from darkness to light.

Thanks to all for your powerful perspectives.

What an amazing experiance!
LEB

climber
PA
Apr 2, 2010 - 06:51pm PT
Antidepressant meds may not be the panacea, end-all, be-all but they definitely help and sometimes quite a bit. It is not unlike pain meds for severe pain. They may not completely remove all of the pain but they will make the whole thing more bearable. Much better than with no pain meds at all.

What is important is to understand that depression is not simply "all in someone's head." There can often be genuine chemical imbalances - most frequently serotonin deficits but other neurotransmitters can be involved, as well. It is not simply a matter of pulling one's self up by his or her bootstraps and "flying right." There is more to it from a physiological perspective than that.

We do people a disservice when we imply that they should just "snap out of it" i.e. change their attitude - neither should we be suggesting that they go for 5 years of psychoanalysis. Both of those scenarios are inappropriate approaches and likely to do more harm than good. When was the last time we told someone to "snap out of" his diabetes or thyroid problem. This type of approach is very non-therapeutic to the patient and likely to leave him feeling worse.
alexander-solzhenitsyn

climber
Bend OR
Apr 2, 2010 - 07:17pm PT
I would not want my preschool caliber opinions to discourage anybody from the use of SSRIs selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors ... or other space age miracles of big pharma

since going beyond melatonin, lithium, seems to work wonders in some people that is great
and my banquet cook did seem better while on SSRI ( prozac ) in my one out of two firsthand observations of their effects

with a large bouquet of options to try I hope that one or several of these mentioned will work

on the cheapskate front, i guess that the touristy well intentioned helpers handbooks "emotional wall of support"
aka having a friends and a helpers net up and viable .... will also be a valid comforter in a time of depression / sleeplessness



Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 2, 2010 - 09:01pm PT
For once LEB, i agree with most of your post

There is so much emphasis on just "snap out of it", "change this or that"

That advice does not help, and may make things worse
Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 2, 2010 - 09:10pm PT
I have also read that a new legal herbal medicine for depression is availible in California

The medicine is of course weed, and the medicinal quality "Sativa" variety has quite an effect on depression

Those prescribed this medicine will find that they must administer a dosage every 4-6 hours, and withdrawl could (will) create a episode of depression

I have not tried this medicine, but the people I have talked to, say it doesn't effect their life other than make it more livable, and they can carry on with a stressful job and family life with out the stigma of being stoners

It seems the more you do, the less the bad effects you may experince with the medicine, and the more anti-depressant effects are noticed

locker

Social climber
Desert
Apr 2, 2010 - 09:12pm PT


Lois NAILS it!!!...

Hit it right out of the PARK...


Dr. F.

climber
So Cal
Apr 3, 2010 - 09:41am PT
What happened to this thread, are we done here?
Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 3, 2010 - 09:53am PT
Yes. It's over. Time to go Skiing.
alexander-solzhenitsyn

climber
Bend OR
Apr 3, 2010 - 12:24pm PT
they say that combined with reggae music, love, community, sunsets, barbecues, surf, and bonfire celebrations up by the parking lot

that it tends to elevate the spirits
you might try just the non smoking parts, see if that works

"music is a safe high" quote lifestyle spokesperson, Jimi Hendrix
LEB

climber
PA
Apr 3, 2010 - 02:07pm PT
Actually, believe it or not, climbing IS therapeutic for depression based on the fact that often it involves direct sunlight (not much shade up there on some of those rock walls) and there is rigorous physical exertion. Both of these elements are known to increase serotonin at the synapses - albeit the effect is relatively short lived.

It explains why some people are absolutely vehement about insisting they going out climbing and then maintaining they feel better for it. There is good scientific reason for such claims.

BTW Locker, I had to have a professional business portrait taken today by the photographic studio which has been retained by the organization wherein I am newly employed. So, I thought of you, this morning when I was there. I see where there IS great potential for skill and creativity on the part photographer. I never realized that before. They don't just snap photos - they actually create compositions. No wonder you are so creative with all this photoshopping stuff you do. I am amazed at what you all can do. Based on what was hanging in his studio, this guy has a lot on the ball. Hopefully he will airbrush away few wrinkles as promised. I bet you were (are) good, Locker
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 4, 2010 - 01:21am PT
Actually, I think Alex is onto something with the reggae music. Bob Marley's music has done wonderful things for my soul. Sound and especially music can have profound effects on the mind. Music can provide a gateway into the subconscious where most of our problems originate. We get all this stuff in our formative years that creates the foundation for future life exigencies. As adults, often we can see clearly perceive the conflict but are unable to change. Access to the subconscious can be a puzzling adventure and there are many experts in various psychological fields that would tell you not to go there or pay an expert to guide you. Maybe. You guys are climbers and you know about fear and fear is the only thing getting in your way. But fear can be nonetheless a dangerous thing in itself.

A couple years ago I came across this technology called Hemi-Sync. With sound, the two hemispheres of the brain are brought into synchronization. This is done by playing two tones of slightly different frequencies through headphones into different ears. The brain will synchronize the two tones and hear one ,and in the process profoundly change the energy flow characteristics of the brain.

Google it sometime.
locker

Social climber
Desert
Apr 4, 2010 - 01:47am PT

Thread Drift:

"No wonder you are so creative with all this photoshopping stuff you do"...

I don't PHOTOSHOP...

That term is very loosly used...

I use PAINT, the weak ass program that's loaded in every PC...




and yeah...

I was pretty "GUD" with the CONVENTIONAL photography...

I KNEW my sh!t for sure...

WASN'T a HACK that did FORMULA crap...

But I no longer SHOOT for a BUCK and no longer have any real gear...

Just a "Point and shoot" digital heap I picked up at "the Wal Mart"...

Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 4, 2010 - 01:50am PT
What made you give it up, Locker? Were you not special enough?
locker

Social climber
Desert
Apr 4, 2010 - 02:01am PT
Wayno...

Boils down to...

I burned myself OUT...


EDITED:

Continued "Thread Drift"...



Wayno...

at any given moment, should I choose to re-enter the field, I certainly could...

Also, I am degreed and certified for life, to Teach at the College level in both California and Arizona...

and honestly, sometimes it's tempting...



Was I not "Special" enough???...

People liked my work and paid for it...

I suppose that made it "Special" to them...

;-)

Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 4, 2010 - 09:31am PT
Lois, please do not suck up to locker. It conflates his ego beyond all reality. The vast majority of his efforts are complete crap, such as pasting the face of a Blessed Saint onto the body of his most vulgar stock schlock, which was not even his find, much less than his work.

Any cowardly POS can vulgarize the beliefs and hopes of millions of honest people. Destruction is easy and often the rationale is "art".


Yet actual, true artists ennoble the mind and bring new insight to humanity. Lockers crap does neither. It is at best sophomoric and juvenile. The reason Locker now makes his fame sniffing glue is that the public refused to support his photography. Otherwise we are drawn to the conclusion that he gave up a raving successful career in photography to pursue his interest in stinking worn out, sweat filled shoes. This seems quite unlikely. I imagine his photography was as purile as his crude efforts here. Anybody can pay to acquire a degree in almost anything, (especially "Art"), the most vapid and untalented hacks can pass a class in America by merely showing up. Particularly in "art" there are few standards of actual ability.




Locker justified his assassination of Mother Theresa by saying that because she was human, she was fodder for his filth. He is wrong. Mother Theresa is a Saint, and such a greater figure than him as to read new meaning into humanity. Were Mother Teresa the measure of humanity, Locker couldn't make the grade as a turd. Mother Teresa was and remains one of the most honored women of modern times, and she earned her status by working all her life as a defender of orphans and the untouchable, unimaginably poor.






Pull that vulgar image from the files of Supertopo. There is no reason under Gods sun why such a icon should be vulgarized by such a POC. 100,000,000 Catholics are surely diminished by allowing his public display of the most extreme disrespect of a Saint.

Public decency is not something that Supertopo should disparage. That image is so far over the line, that even the least respectable people should demand its banishment. I intend to do so. I hope others will come to the aid of the issue.
Flaccid

Gym climber
U.S. of fukkin' A
Apr 4, 2010 - 09:33am PT
INSERT WOLF GUY F*#KING TAILPIPE PIC ASAP
Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 4, 2010 - 09:35am PT
You truly are Flaccid.
mountain dog

Trad climber
over the hills and far away
Apr 4, 2010 - 09:41am PT
Flaccid=Poser.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Apr 4, 2010 - 09:45am PT
Rokjox,

You just don't have the Animal House level of humor that some of us have, cut us some slack. I'm waiting for the Pope behind the tailpipe myself, seems he might have earned that honor.



The evil one
Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 4, 2010 - 11:07am PT
Perhaps he may, perhaps not. I have read that a subordinate of his claims that the pope was not apprised of the problem, and that the subordinate is to blame for the lack of punishment.

Either way Mother Teresa is NOT at fault.



And it doesn't surprise me that a man who has made such as issue of his Jewish faith here on this site should not have sympathies with a Catholic issue. Moreever I refuse to believe that this is just a matter of "humor".



I will give this issue a few hours to work its way out, but I have a considerable amount of capacity to bring this sort of a issue to a conclusion. If Locker sees fit to refuse to remove that image from Supertopo, I will make it my duty to see to it that he does. As a number of people may have noticed, I neither bluff, nor lack imagination on how to proceed on such a campaign.

I find him reprehensible as a rule, but my tolerance is drawn taut for his most disgraceful and shameful excesses.

If necessary I will start a new thread. Desecration of the reputations of the dead and sainted should not be viewed as a claim to fame and "art". Supertopo should not be a venue for desecration and the scorn of millions of peoples religion and faith.

Do you think that HIS kind of "art" belongs here? Is Supertopo a venue for hatred and vile vulgarity?

Is THAT how you want the world community to think of us?

Flaccid

Gym climber
U.S. of fukkin' A
Apr 4, 2010 - 11:14am PT
^^^^ FAG

photo not found
Missing photo ID#137512
Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 4, 2010 - 11:52am PT
And good Easter morning to you too, you cowardly ass bite.

Would you care to identify yourself with a picture and identity so we might know just what kind of a discerning genus we have in you?

Like I did when I posted that photo of myself from ever so long ago?

We have already seen your quality of posts, and frankly, they ain't much, (to be kind). Perhaps your identity would out you as the brilliant wit you think yourself to be? (But I doubt it.)
Blinky

Trad climber
North Carolina
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:13pm PT
LA, I was diagnosed bi-polar at a young age, I'm 50 now and take no drugs or do anything special to deal with it... I just don't go into those deep long swings anymore, my moods have leveled out naturally.

BUT, early on Prozac was just what I needed. Took it for four months. The key is to break the long period and few people can do that through strength of will alone. Once you're back to being above the line you can rejigger your lifestyle to better keep the deep swings away.

You need to find out why you're depressed. Sure, it's chemical but (and this will sound obvious) people don't get depressed when they are healthy and happy. People get depressed when some kind of stressor makes them susceptible. When you lose your ability to compensate because you are heavily stressed, you're more likely to succumb to an illness.

The single best therapy for me is exercise... hard exercise, the kind that hurts. It's a b!tch to get going but after experiencing the results a few times I learned to just do it no matter how bad I felt.
I'm lousy at pure exercise though, I need to go fast or chase a ball or climb something. The best thing I ever did for myself was quit the office gigs and get into hard outdoor work... it doesn't hurt that climbing trees everyday makes it easy to feel good... and surprisingly, I don't miss the money at all. Life is good and spending less makes me feel better about my place in the world.

...and I never believed I would say anything like that, I was pretty good at making money.

Rokjox

Trad climber
Boys I'dunno
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:53pm PT
Juan:

Perhaps the most effective way to battle depression is to find something; an issue, a thing or a person that you really care about, and make that issue yours. Find something you want to see happen, make or do, and begin to make it happen. Once you have picked out your project, you make a commitment to see it through. If you have picked out something you care enough about, you will find the depression is far more bearable.

I was recently struck by Martin Luther Kings' "I have seen the promised land" speech. (I hope I have the reference right). In it he says he doesn't believe that he would live to see the end of his dream, but that he did no longer care. He knew the day he had worked for was coming, and that knowlege had given him a tremendous freedom from despair over his personal circumstances. Seeing him give those lines so much energy, I have to believe him.


Find something that you are passionate about, something you want, something you can do, and make a commitment to see it through. I think that is the solution to incurable depression. If MLK didn't have reason to be depressed, I cannot imagine who does. Yet, in the end, he was delivered from his personal demons, by his desire.






I read this somewhere;

On one day of the year, every year, he sent roses to his wife as an offering of his love. A few days before he died, he sent her the bouquet, with one important difference. In the past, the flowers were always real and fragile, with the temporary life of all cut flowers. The last bouquet he sent was made of silk. He clearly knew that they were going to have to last a long time.
Flaccid

Gym climber
U.S. of fukkin' A
Apr 4, 2010 - 01:06pm PT
Yet, in the end, he was delivered from his personal demons, by his desire.

I THOUGHT HE WAS SHOT?
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Apr 4, 2010 - 06:21pm PT
Blinky, agree with all you say. lynnie
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Peenemunde
Apr 5, 2010 - 01:26pm PT
So I survived the weekend. Had a terrible reaction to cymbalta and nearly checked into the Hospital. Feel better today. One day at a time is what I keep telling myself. Praying for deliverance. I have lost 25lbs in the last 6 weeks after I stopped Zyprexa. I should really notice this when I get back to Stoney Point in the next few days.

I miss the Zyprexa, it stopped my storming mind. But I am going to have to learn to live without it and find other ways to quiet my mind.

Thanks again for all the wonderful info that has been posted.

Jeff "Mindstorm" De Fuca
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2010 - 02:04pm PT
Jeff, check out the Hemi-Sync. For the price of a CD, you might find some peace of mind.
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Peenemunde
Apr 5, 2010 - 03:54pm PT
Circuits in your brain light up when you're happy. One groundbreaking researcher has discovered how to keep them lit.



There are no dark corners in Madison, Wisconsin, a university town that sparkles with endowment and research dollars—more than $900 million last year—as well as just plain Midwestern niceness. The grants are well earned: It was at the University of Wisconsin–Madison that the first bone marrow transplant was performed and the first synthetic gene was created. It was here that human stem cells were isolated and cultured in a lab for the first time. And for more than a decade, one of the campus's most productive hit makers has been the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience, run by a 56-year-old neuroscientist and professor of psychology and psychiatry named Richard J. Davidson, PhD, who has been systematically uncovering the architecture of emotion.

Davidson, whose youthful appearance and wide-open smile give him more than a passing resemblance to Jerry Seinfeld, has been studying the brain structures behind not just anxiety, depression, and addiction but also happiness, resilience, and, most recently, compassion. Using brain imaging technologies, in particular a device called a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, a sort of Hubble telescope for the brain, Davidson and his researchers have observed the areas associated with various emotions and how their function changes as an individual moves through them. His "brain maps" have revealed the neural terrain of so-called normal adults and children, as well as those suffering from mood disorders and autism. Davidson has also studied a now rather famous group of subjects: Tibetan monks with years of Buddhist meditation under their gleaming pates.

Probably his most well-known study mapped the brains of employees at a biotech company, more than half of whom completed about three hours of meditation once a week led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. After four months, the meditating subjects noticed a boost in mood and decrease in anxiety, while their immune systems became measurably stronger. What made headlines, though ("The Science of Happiness" sang a January 2005 Time magazine cover), was that Davidson vividly showed that meditation produced a significant increase in activity in the part of the brain responsible for positive emotions and traits like optimism and resilience—the left prefrontal cortex. In meditating monks, he'd separately found, this area lit up like the lights in Times Square, showing activity beyond anything he and his team had ever seen—a neurological circuit board explaining their sunny serenity.

These and other findings of Davidson's have bolstered mounting research suggesting that the adult brain is changeable, or "plastic," as opposed to becoming fixed in adolescence. What this means is that although an individual may be born with a predisposition toward gloominess or anxiety, the emotional floor plan can be altered, the brain's furniture moved to a more felicitous arrangement; with a little training, you can coax a fretful mind toward a happier outlook. It's a new understanding of the brain that represents a paradigm shift of seismic importance, and one that's sent a steady stream of reporters out to Madison like pilgrims on the road to Santiago. Perhaps just as seismic is Davidson's "coming out of the closet" (his phrase) as a highly regarded, marquee-name brain researcher with a focus on contemplation, and a commitment to putting compassion and spirituality on the scientific map.

The letters on the license plate of Davidson's silvery green Subaru Outback spell out EMOTE, but the man himself does not ooze. Gentle and precise in his speech, he is the consummate scientist, curious, quietly passionate, and utterly on topic. And despite all the buzz about his work, he'll tell you simply that he has been chipping away at the same ideas about consciousness for more than three decades.

Raised in Brooklyn—his father was in the real estate business—Richie, as friends call him, is still married to his college sweetheart, Susan, a perinatologist and director of the perinatal program at St. Mary's Hospital and Dean Medical Center in Madison. They were born nine days and a few blocks apart; both graduated high school at 16 (she from Erasmus, he from Midwood), and both have graduate degrees in psychology from nearby universities: his from Harvard, hers from the University of Massachusetts. "You couldn't have arranged a better match," he says.

When they arrived in Cambridge in the early 1970s, every swami guru and his mother was selling his wares and giving lectures, says the Davidsons' old friend Jon Kabat-Zinn, who had recently completed his own PhD, in molecular biology at MIT: "You could get an alternate education just by going to all the talks." The first spiritual leader to touch Davidson was Richard Alpert, the Harvard professor who'd been fired for his liberal deployment of LSD among his students and was reborn, phoenixlike, as Ram Dass. Through him, Davidson learned "that there was a way to work on yourself to transform your way of being, to make you happier and more compassionate." And that way was meditation.

Another big influence was fellow student Daniel Goleman, who went on to become a psychologist and the author of Emotional Intelligence, among other books. In 1973 he had already traveled to India, developed a contemplative practice, and published papers about it. At that time, Goleman remembers, "there was a strong sense of the new, a sense of something that had not been realized or executed before, and that it had some sort of importance for the culture."

Two visuals that distill the period for Davidson are the memory of Goleman's bright red VW van, its dashboard decorated with photographs of lamas and yogis—as enticing and otherworldly as Ken Kesey's psychedelic school bus—and a 1974 snapshot of him and Goleman wearing Harvard T-shirts and sarongs in Sri Lanka, where Goleman was then living, and where Susan and Richie visited before embarking on their first meditation retreat in India.

"My professors were firmly convinced I was going off the deep end," Davidson says. "But I knew I was going to come back. I was committed to a scientific career. Still, I needed to taste more intensive meditation in that setting." And it was the hardest work he's ever done—16-hour days, two weeks of them, in utter silence. "Anyone who says meditation is relaxation doesn't know what they're talking about. It's like trying to change the course of a river."

When he returned from India, he finished his PhD and started to craft a research career around emotions, at the time the backwater of psychology. It was extraordinarily difficult. "The measuring devices were too crude," he says. "You couldn't see, as we can now, what was happening in the brain." And neuroscience barely existed.

.
"Richie was always kind of eclectic—he wasn't bound by any discipline," says Susan, who became, as her husband likes to say, a "real doctor." His roving interests made him an odd fit, initially, for some universities. "Richie had finished his degree at Harvard, been published in all these journals, but he would go to job interviews and they would say, 'Oh, you're too clinical for our psychology department, or too this for our that,'" Susan says. "People found him interesting, but they didn't want to commit."

What changed the face of his career, according to Davidson, was a meeting in 1992 with Tenzin Gyatso, otherwise known as the 14th Dalai Lama, who urged him to home in on compassion as the object of serious and rigorous study. "If you look at the index of any scientific textbook, you won't find the word compassion," Davidson says. "But it is as worthy a topic of examination as all the negative emotions—fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, disgust—that have long occupied the scientific community."

When I visit Davidson in Madison, where he and Susan have lived since 1985 and raised their children, Amelie, now 26, and Seth, 20, he tells me about his latest research: Reminding me that the Dalai Lama's mandate is to effect change in the world through the power of compassion, Davidson says, "If this is truly possible, then we should be able to discover circuits in the brain that underlie compassion and that are strengthened when it is cultivated."

His new studies on the monks—"the Olympic athletes of meditation," as he calls them—are designed to measure what happens when they engage specifically in compassion practice. So far, he's found that their brains show dramatic changes in two telling areas: increased activity not only in the prefrontal cortex—which floods them with well-being—but also in the areas involved with motor planning. It seems the monks are not just "feeling" good; their brains have primed their bodies to spring up and "do" good. "They are poised to jump into action and do whatever they can to help relieve suffering," Davidson says. (As for his own practice, Judaism is Davidson's "birth religion," but he characterizes his spiritual path as being most similar to a Buddhist one, though he hesitates to describe himself as a card-carrying devotee. Certainly all who know him say that Davidson is a glass-half-full sort of guy—his mother even called him her Joy Boy, while Susan says, "Richie is consistently upbeat." And yes, he has mapped parts of his own brain, and admits it "showed moderately strong left prefrontal activation.")

Whether generosity of spirit rubs off on others is another question Davidson has begun to probe. "We've launched a study with a highly trained, long-term Buddhist practitioner, looking at the impact of his compassionate attitude on ordinary individuals. We bring them into the MRI scanner, we expose them to pictures of suffering—gory accidents and things like that. We do this under two conditions: one where they are in the presence of an experimenter, and one where they are in the presence of the monk." Davidson is curious to see whether the results will bear out anecdotal reports that in the presence of an extremely compassionate person, you feel more relaxed, secure, loved, and safe



His team is also putting ordinary individuals, first-timers, through a two-week intervention that includes 30 minutes a day of compassion meditation. Davidson predicts changes in the brain regions associated with emotion and empathy as well as the subjects making more altruistic decisions: "They will also have the opportunity to give away some of what they earn for their participation in the study," he says. "We expect that those undergoing compassion training will donate more money."

The idea that compassion can be learned—and that the process can be measured scientifically—is what thrills Davidson. And he envisions compassion training in a variety of settings, from public schools to the corporate world. "Now we mostly have monks and other religious figures preaching about these ideas," he says. "It's quite another thing to have a hard-nosed neuroscientist like me suggest that such training may have beneficial consequences for how we act toward others as well as promoting health. Most people accept the idea that regular physical exercise is something they should do for the remainder of their lives. Imagine how different things might be if we accepted the notion that the regular practice of mental exercises to strengthen compassion is something to incorporate into everyday life."

To what extent can we really brighten our outlook? What is the best way to deflect stress? How can people become more resilient? Are there other ways aside from meditation to boost the brain? Many questions remain to be answered. It is a tantalizing prospect: that even a little more joy might be within everyone's reach. "I've been talking about happiness not as a trait but as a skill, like tennis," says Davidson. "If you want to be a good tennis player, you can't just pick up a racket—you have to practice."
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Peenemunde
Apr 5, 2010 - 04:02pm PT
Start by closing your eyes and thinking about someone you love.





Compassion meditation involves silently repeating certain phrases that express the intention to move from judgment to caring, from isolation to connection, from indifference or dislike to understanding. You don't have to force a particular feeling or get rid of unpleasant or undesirable reactions; the power of the practice is in the wholehearted gathering of attention and energy, and concentrating on each phrase. You can begin with a 20-minute session and increase the time gradually until you are meditating for half an hour at a time. If your mind wanders, don't be concerned. Notice whatever has captured your attention, let go of the thought or feeling, and simply return to the phrases. If you have to do that over and over again, it is fine.




•To begin, take a comfortable position. You may want to sit in a chair or on cushions on the floor (just make sure your back is erect without being strained or overarched). You can also lie down. Take a few deep, soft breaths to let your body settle.
•Closing your eyes or leaving them slightly open, start by thinking of someone you care about already—perhaps she's been good or inspiring to you. You can visualize this person or say her name to yourself, get a feeling for her presence, and silently offer phrases of compassion to her. The typical phrases are: "May you be free of pain and sorrow. May you be well and happy." But you can alter these, or use others that have personal significance.
•After a few minutes, shift your attention inward and offer the phrases of compassion to yourself: "May I be free of pain and sorrow. May I be well and happy."
•Then, after some time, move on to someone you find difficult. Get a feeling for the person's presence, and offer the phrases of compassion to her.
•Then turn to someone you've barely met—the supermarket checkout woman or UPS man. Even without knowing his or her name, you can get a sense of the person, perhaps an image, and offer the phrases of compassion.
•We close with the offering of compassion to people everywhere, to all forms of life, without limit, without exception: "May all beings be free of pain and sorrow. May all be well and happy."
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2010 - 04:07pm PT
That sounds like good stuff. Have you tried it? Does it work, or are you just scratching your back?
alexander-solzhenitsyn

climber
Bend OR
Apr 8, 2010 - 02:07pm PT
whattever works for you

yeh, it works >>> there is a forward vision shift from gloom to clear picture of wat would be a non-gloom future


Lost Arrow

Trad climber
The North Ridge of the San Fernando
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 17, 2010 - 03:26am PT
I went and met my new physicist Fri afternoon. He told me I was being giving the wrong meds. He wants me back on a SSRI I have had so much help with in the past.

He wants to give me new meds to get my sleep under control.

Will maintain my Xanax until I can be weaned off it.

Whats to spend am hour a week doing cognitive therapy as I see a very distorted view of the world. I see a world of fear.

So I am feeling better.

Juan
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Why'djya leave the ketchup on the table?
Apr 17, 2010 - 03:37am PT
You'll be a democrat again in no time buddy!

DMT
Lost Arrow

Trad climber
The North Ridge of the San Fernando
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 17, 2010 - 03:46am PT
Where you off to Dingus?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Why'djya leave the ketchup on the table?
Apr 17, 2010 - 04:15am PT
Not sure buddy. As you can see I don't sleep normal patterns either. In my case I generally go to bed quite early by human standards. I gave up, a long time ago, being upset with myself for getting up so early.

I've been sitting here trying to decide what to do LA. Gonna climb with Ang tomorrow, and the kid is otherwise busy today (Papa, I intend to SLEEP... Saturday... OK there kid, sleep on!).

Thinking about tossing the ole planks in the back of the jeep, head up to Carson Pass, see if I can avoid claustrophobic death on the white stuff. Maybe go do some bouldering down Woodsford way afterward.

Or maybe not, can't decide!

Say... you will like this LA. My f*#king Jeep just quit working this week. I parked it one evening and the next morning I turn the key, nothing.

Well not quite nothing, I got 'woltage' but the starter won't do sh#t.

So I troubleshoot over the course of a couple of days.... battery is good, can't really tell if the alternator is... f*#ker won't start!

I eventually concluded the solenoid wasn't firing. Last evening, as a test, I turned the key on and using a long piece of wire, with one end attached to the solennoid firing terminal, I touched the other end of that wire to the batter + terminal.

BOOM!

...





Kidding! Just Kidding!

Damn Jeep started right up!

Ah... something in the firing circuit. Soe googlosity reveals cheap assed Jeep construction - Jeeps have a notorious problem with the Transmission Neutral Safety Switch - the gizmo that tells the car computer the tranny is in park or neutral so as not to engage the starter when the engine is running.

That switch, or the computer down stream, was bad. A couple more minutes revealed a dark secret - the switch replacement is around $200!

F*#K!

A few more minutes research revealed the "Tennessee Fix."

Down at Kragen (Woulda gone to Radio Shack, cheaper and more choice, but farther away at 5 PM on a Friday, f*#k THAT) - I bought some wire, an inline fuse holder, some fuses, and a push button switch.

Poked wire through the firewall and mounted that switch on the plastic bezel beside the steering column. The other ends of those wires went to a 12v batter wire and the solenoid terminal, respectively. Fuse in there to keep things honest.

Bing bang boom - turn the key, push the button voila! Starts right up. Switch is unobtrusive so Jeep is now somewhat Jack Proof, though no one is going to steal it anyway.

So there you go - major Jeep outage, $20 repair. I was in an unfortunate mood all week cause of that Jeep... then a big UP last evening. Got so happy I took the family out to dinner!

Now I'm gonna brew another cup of Joe, fire some sacrifical herbs in a small religious brazier I keep in the garage for predawn road trip prayers to the gods... oh maybe I should get dressed and throw some sh#t in that sh#t Jeep of mine.... I'm outta here bro!

Cheers LA
(has we REALLY been kibitizing online for 17 years Wan? SEVENTEEN????

DMT
DMT
Tobia

Social climber
GA
Apr 17, 2010 - 05:01am PT
Dingus:

I suffer from similar patterns in sleep. Sometimes I have to go to bed as soon as I get home from work, sleep a few hours and awake until the wee hours, then fall asleep long enough to say I was asleep before the alarm goes off for work.

That is one pattern and is ok to live with. The other phase is when I sleep from about 11 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. and up until the next night at 11... this goes on for 6 or 7 days until I am so exhausted I sleep for 16 hours or so.

This is tough to deal with because I am wired while I am awake. I had a big rig hauling logs & mail for awhile and it was ok because driving a truck at night is much easier than daytime driving; besides less traffic it is always a quick unloading process and less personality to deal with. As a teacher this pattern is disastrous.

The other pattern is interrupted sleep but normal hours; every once in awhile 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. When that happens I feel 15 years younger and usually have a great day.

I tried all the sleep meds and my own. I did a lot of reading and research about how to deal with it and discovered the best thing to do is just live with it. The myth that humans need and usually get 8 hours of interrupted sleep is baloney. The wonderful world of advertising has convinced us that we should sleep like babies and something is wrong if we don't. Agreeably it is wonderful to sleep like that; people that do are fortunate. Historically speaking it hasn't ever been part of life.





graniteclimber

Trad climber
Nowhere
Aug 2, 2010 - 02:13pm PT
From Jeff in April (in the original post of this thread):

For the last month I have been trying to beat my depression with will power alone. This is not working, I cannot sleep, I grow more fatigued each day and start thinking dark thoughs.

I have family mememeber telling me to just snap out of it. I wish it was that easy.

Its like getting up a climb without the necessary strenght to do the moves.

I had to call in sick to work as I sleept 1 hour.

Whats the next step I need to take. New Doctor. Hospital.

I am starting to give up hope.

A little compassion and suggestions would be very nice.




Juan
Daphne

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Aug 2, 2010 - 02:34pm PT
Aug 2, 2010 - 02:31pm PT
There's so many resources needed to support a suicidal person. Please make a note of this toll free 24 hour number for someone you know who may be struggling. They might not use it but giving it will let them know you care that they live

1(800)273-8255 (TALK)

alexander-solzhenitsyn

climber
Bend OR
Aug 11, 2010 - 04:31pm PT
re reading this thread - but I am on metered net cafe time and gtg soon

myself - prob too much offering underqualified advice , to little asking questions ... but that has to do with using a bulletin board for comm
The user formerly known as stzzo

Social climber
Aug 11, 2010 - 07:52pm PT
It's a shock to my system to see this thread resurrected... Not that it's bad, just disturbing.

RIP, Juan.
Mimi

climber
Aug 11, 2010 - 08:03pm PT
Jeff's post on April 17th was telling. Something didn't work out by the time May 25th rolled around. So terribly sad that he felt compelled to end his life.

"I went and met my new physicist Fri afternoon. He told me I was being giving the wrong meds. He wants me back on a SSRI I have had so much help with in the past.

He wants to give me new meds to get my sleep under control.

Will maintain my Xanax until I can be weaned off it.

Whats to spend am hour a week doing cognitive therapy as I see a very distorted view of the world. I see a world of fear.

So I am feeling better." Juan
TripL7

Trad climber
san diego
Aug 13, 2010 - 02:00am PT
Daphne- "Please make a note of this *TOLL FREE 24 HOUR NUMBER* for someone you know who may be struggling."

*1(800)273-8255(TALK)*

Thanks, Daphne!!
Demented

climber
Jun 3, 2011 - 12:52pm PT
Bump.

Been riding high on Wellbutrin for the last 2 1/2 weeks. The crash came hard last night. There is no free lunch.

Just trying to make it through today (and no, alcohol feels good but does not help...

More later.
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Jun 3, 2011 - 01:20pm PT
Sometimes it's darkest before you see the light.

What means the most to you in this life?
toadgas

Trad climber
los angeles
Jun 3, 2011 - 01:44pm PT

--

Funny how many climbers are depressives too. Explanation: depressed people seek solace and mood elevation in the outdoors, especially in mood-altering "adrenaline based" activities.


The more credible responses here are from people with actual diagnoses of depression, and who have tried the various tx options. Yes, that would include me.


My observations: Paxil works great, takes about two to three weeks to gloriously kick in. If you do NOT actually have a serotonin uptake issue, you may as well be taking a sugar pill; it will not affect your mood.


Paxil is too expensive so I take the generic form; 10mgs of paroxetine daily; you only need to see a shrink once every 6 mos. for an Rx.


The meds give you a baseline of solid, normal feelings, so you can cope like "normal" people do. But now you may have to deal with external factors, like a horrible, shitty job, or a merciless husband or wife, or a teenager who is an absolute monster. Those "issues" can surely de-stabilize, but at least you have a foundation for coping "normally"...sometimes you just have to permanently remove obnoxious people from your life, one way or another.


SUI's will make you crave carbohydrates; which means you should exercise and diet, a lot. All the running you do will help elevate your mood; I'm addicted to running and training now; never felt better.


genuine depression is REAL...not something you can shake off or deal with thru exercise/fresh air regimens. I know that genetics and biochemistry AND life circumstances combine to cause it...perhaps in that order.


best of luck, juan

--

Anastasia

climber
hanging from an ice pick and missing my mama.
Jun 3, 2011 - 01:55pm PT
Very depressing to see how the cycle formed before he took his own life. He really was a great guy...

It's ridicules to tear apart others as if people are indestructible. We are not. Words can kill and... They can save. Be careful what you say.

We need each other, we need to be there because it does count in a million ways.
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Jun 3, 2011 - 03:01pm PT
toadgas, I suspect depression is at least as common in the broader public as it is within the climbing community. One difference we might note is that people feel more comfortable sharing with "strangers" in this forum more readily than walking down the street or with someone you met 5 minutes ago climbing. So we actually become aware of the issue here, where we normally walk past it in our tangible life. How many people meet your eyes when you walk down the street? Mostly people are too busy or too afraid to see or be seen.

I think there is something therapeutic in these forums, something that makes it easier for some people to connect in a personally meaningful way more frequently than they are able to do in tangible life (either because of personal inhibitions, or work schedules, geographic isolation, or whatever). I think this is true for me at least.

+1 for what Anastasia said.
Tobia

Social climber
GA
Jun 3, 2011 - 05:31pm PT
Toadgas,

You hit the nail on the head. The days I feel "good" are the ones that at the days end I am completely exhausted from activities out of doors. It isn't always aerobic or fast paced activities like running. Mainly tasks like splitting wood, moving dirt or any other energy depleting activity. Activities that are more aligned with work than pleasure. Leisure activities per se seem less fulfilling than stacking stones.

I don't get the endorphin rush as I do with something like a long run; more of a satisfied mind because I have earned my salt or something like that.

Anastasia,

May your kindness seep through all the posts on this forum.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Jun 3, 2011 - 05:34pm PT
Isn't it about the one year anniversary of Juan's death? Still think about him often.
Weld_it

Trad climber
Chatsworth
Jun 3, 2011 - 05:37pm PT
FACT: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1231223/Jeff-Batten-Juan-de-Fuca-Memorial-Thread
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Jun 9, 2011 - 02:39pm PT
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/09/lives-cut-short-by-depression/?ref=health
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Jun 9, 2011 - 02:42pm PT
I'm ready.
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
Jun 9, 2011 - 02:49pm PT
Moosie,

Ready for what??



The evil one
Papillon Rendre

Social climber
Jun 13, 2011 - 08:05pm PT
My son's close friend hung himself last Friday.

Tyler was the happiest young man and he never showed any signs of depression or sadness. The entire sophomore class loved him.

He was an athlete, scholar and barely 16.

I googled teen suicide and was shocked to learn the percentage of teens who attempt suicide and the percentage who succeed.

Please keep your children safe.



Anastasia

climber
hanging from an ice pick and missing my mama.
Jun 13, 2011 - 08:07pm PT
Life is stranger than fiction. Really is...
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Jun 13, 2011 - 08:23pm PT
I'm sorry about your sons friend. I hid my problems with depression all through High school. I was seen as a happy kid. Now.. Most days I'm surprised I'm still alive.
sullly

Trad climber
Jun 13, 2011 - 08:33pm PT
Keep on keeping on John Moosie.

Papillon, a similar thing happened with a girl in my daughter's class this year. Fight with boyfriend led to hanging herself in boyfriend's house. Two years ago a girl hanged herself near my classroom at lunch. She's alive, but a vegetable. A science teacher and custodian were able to cut her down in time to save her life. Kids were texting and Facebooking mean things about her before the incident.
Karen

Trad climber
So Cal urban sprawl Hell
Jun 13, 2011 - 09:25pm PT
what I'd like to know If a person is put on an SSRI and they go totally manic are they bipolar?
John Moosie

climber
Beautiful California
Jun 13, 2011 - 09:55pm PT
what I'd like to know If a person is put on an SSRI and they go totally manic are they bipolar?

WARNING.. what you are about to read is opinion. I am not a doctor. ( I know you know that, but some people freak out.. eek!!! )


There are studies that say SSRIs can cause mania.. Here is a page with a bunch of studies. I don't know how legit they are.

http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/antidepressants-ADF.htm

Scroll down a ways and look at the headings.

Here is just one of them..

http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/paxil-study-mania.htm

By the way.. which SSRI? I have had SSRI induced mania.


.....

Maybe one of the docs will chime in.
damo62

Social climber
Brisbane
Jun 13, 2011 - 09:59pm PT
Karen,
A long time ago I was prescribed Zoloft and left unsupervised and in retrospect I believe I was manic for a few months. I have never been diagnosed as bipolar just depressed. Recently I decided to stop taking psych meds altogether, replacing them with daily qigong practise, I've never felt better (touch wood).
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Nov 15, 2012 - 08:59pm PT
I forget what I was searching for, but I came across this.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Nov 15, 2012 - 09:05pm PT
On April 1, 2010, Jeff Batten posted:

For the last month I have been trying to beat my depression with will power alone. This is not working, I cannot sleep, I grow more fatigued each day and start thinking dark thoughs.

I have family mememeber telling me to just snap out of it. I wish it was that easy.

Its like getting up a climb without the necessary strenght to do the moves.

I had to call in sick to work as I sleept 1 hour.

Whats the next step I need to take. New Doctor. Hospital.

I am starting to give up hope.

A little compassion and suggestions would be very nice.


Juan


On May 25, 2010 he was gone.

Public records show that our friend Jeff Batten has left us, on May 25th, 2010

He posted as Juan de fuca, prowsolo, the general, rockstar, lostarrow and other alias.

And he was the original internet troll on the subject of climbing, dating far back into the usenet board Rec.climbing, before the web had such communications.

For a long time, Jeff's posts were merely trolls, sometime appreciated, sometimes resented. But as time went on, Jeff opening up and shared more and more of himself with the online community. His scientific interests, his struggles with physical pain and depression, and his explorations into spirituality. He was our taco seismograph.

I choose to believe that Jeff is relieved from his struggles now, after facing them and exploring many ways of inner peace. I offer condolences for those who knew and will miss him. We will.

Perhaps we can post some of his classic trolls, cartoons featuring Jeff by Ouch (another fallen brother) and some of his other sharings.

Fly high Jeff, on your greatest adventure since soloing the Prow.

Peace

Karl
other

Trad climber
LA, CA
Nov 16, 2012 - 01:10am PT
My climbing partner killed himself. He was clinically depressed and would not take prescribed meds. He was 45.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Nov 16, 2012 - 10:56am PT
I have suffered a few periods in my life where I could not sleep for months on end. It just hammers a person and makes living day to day very difficult.
I was lucky enough to know the real cause of this state. It was always work related, working too hard, working in the wrong situation, work stress etc.
I am fortunate that I was able to go to part time work(60%) in blocks so I have 12 days off at a time. The time off means I can spend lots of time in the outdoors, do a lot more climbing, and take some good holidays. This has the effect of cleaning my brain so I am enthusiastic and very productive when I get back to work. My productivity per hour has increased so my employers are actually getting a good deal.
People are reluctant to talk about their problems because we don't want to be seen as weak.
If you can identify the underlying cause of the issues then there is the possibility of fixing things.
covelocos

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Nov 16, 2012 - 11:14am PT
I suffered what felt like a bout of depression in the 90's when 'we' invaded Kuait. Listening to NPR describe bombs falling while my children ran naked thru the poppies in the meadow. This lasted several months and resulted in alienating myself from my family and friends. I found relief one day in about ten min. when I came across the mental health chapter in 'The Better Homes and gardens guide to family health'. I know that my problem is not the same as anyone else necessarily. but to gain that insight saved me from who knows what. Oh yeah. then I found climbing!
enjoimx

Trad climber
Yosemite, ca
Nov 16, 2012 - 12:42pm PT
So what was your insight Cove?
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